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Navigating Covid-19 and recovery simultaneously

"Take a deep breath. Count 1, 2, 3. Slowly inhale and exhale while counting. Focus on the silence around you."

My eyes are shut and I'm beginning to feel relaxed. Then my toddler knocks over my cup of coffee and takes off running in a shriek of screams as the babysitter is chasing him once again out of my room while I'm sitting at a TV tray desk, couped up between a bookshelf and my bed. My laptop is on a zoom meeting for a training because my tiny apartment is currently my work space, home life, and playground for my children. The babysitter is my sister, who didn't exactly volunteer for this job, but with the situations we all have going on and her currently being off work kind of felt obligated? Life before Covid 19/Pandemic 2020 was NOT this.

Recovery jeapordized. I feel the anxiety and depression creeping in like a cold wind. I notice I'm a bit more on edge lately. Angry you could say. It's been a while since I've been manic, but I feel it. I have had a few anger outbursts. I feel slightly confused about the rules now. I shut down some days and sometimes I am so on edge I could shake the water out of a glass without it tipping over. Covid 19 has shut the world down. However, it's only made mine feel like I'm running in circles.

The world as we have known it has changed. For many, these challenging times come with grief and loss. They come with uncertainty. They come with many changes. As we face these uncertain times, we tend to stumble upon triggers and crises more often. We find ourselves without our resources. Our daily routines that have become our solidarity are no longer our safe space. An age that technology had already changed the way we friend and interact with people has now become the soul source of all that we do. We no longer have the peace of mind of being able to shut down. They suggest getting together with friends on Facebook, Skype, and other social media platforms. We find ourselves scrolling through endless disheartening news articles. We see less positive postings and more positive cases and we begin to allow it to consume us.

As I sat there, covered in coffee that day during a zoom meeting, I realized that I had made my mind a prison and my home as well. I pulled out my notebook and jotted down "self care.” Staring at it I began to write what I needed to feel better. What would help me? The thing that popped out the most was, normalcy.

Living in fear is something that the world thrives upon. We watched shelves become empty and we watched panic set in. We sat back as they closed our favorite places to eat, take in a game, and even our safe spaces. Many didn't think about that in the forefront. What about AA meetings? Drug and Alcohol Counseling? Drop-In Centers? What about services that provide outreach for those who need extra support for shopping and recreational activities? Where does that leave us? Some in the outfield and struggling to hit home plate. I've watched friends suffer and family fall behind. I've watched money run tight and fear come across the brow of my once level headed supporters. I've awoken to 3 a.m. phone calls saying "I just needed someone to talk to because I feel like I want to relapse", and I have visited with my friends as restrictions were lifted to them questioning exactly their position in this life. I have tried hard to come up with some type of assurance and way to ease these tensions.

Assurance does not come easy when we are not sure what to expect. I say to you this, remember that we are all in this together. We are all facing uncertainty and change. We are all going through the motions of what is becoming the new normal. As we continue to journey on this road and we keep facing these challenges, using our support teams are our best idea. Peer to peer support, crisis lines, and mobile therapy are on the rise. Online groups and support sessions are out there. Connect with your people, your co-workers, your support team, and find these resources. Talk with family and friends about helping with new mothers, children, and school. Create a village and allow your village to work through you. In these moments we are humbled by the generosity of a stranger and it's okay to find what works for you.

As we continue to venture into Covid 19 and the world changes before us, we want to remember that it isn't bigger than we are as a whole. We are here to continue to make change, we are here to still feel human, and we are here for outreach. It's okay to have off days, bad days, and the worst moments. But we want to see you thrive through this. The best person you can have in your corner is yourself. So allow yourself to advocate for your needs and allow your village to carry you.

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