The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.
The other day my husband and I decided it was time to get out of dodge and travel to the other coast of Florida to get away. I wasn’t prepared for what I witnessed. I was amazed the difference four hours from my home of permanent residence compared to my getaway home was with regards to the coronavirus. When we stopped for gas at the half-way mark I had my gloves and mask on and nobody, I mean nobody, was doing the same. I felt like I was in the twilight zone.
My husband had a mandatory cease-to-operate his restaurant seven weeks ago…now going on eight weeks, due to COVID-19, as did many non-essential businesses. Though he could have continued with takeout and deliveries, after one day attempting, he realized it wouldn’t cut the cost of running the establishment. So, as you can imagine his mood slowly sunk, understandably, as he loves his restaurant of 35 years along with his loyal employees and clientele.
So off we went to the west coast of Florida to “air out” for a few days only to find everywhere we went there were few if any people wearing masks and none wearing rubber gloves. It was as if this was all make-believe in South Florida—and of course it’s not, but you can’t help but wonder what all the fuss is about on one end versus another. Perhaps you too have a split of concern with social distancers, mask wearers, and glove donners where you live as well. How is that impacting you? Are you feeling as though it’s not real? Or that somehow something is amiss?
Maybe you’ve chosen to not wear masks and go about your life, which to be honest sounds like a slice of heaven to me. But, the other part of me, my conscience, says, “What if someone’s grandma or grandpa gets this thing because I was only thinking about myself.” And on the mask goes…
It seems strange to even be writing this today when just a few months back, in late February, I was at the very same getaway home my husband and I fled to but then it was with my three sister siblings and we vaguely talked about this virus that was out there.
Well out there is now here, but it seems like there’s a standstill, as if this thing is slowing down in the spread and deaths…or maybe not.
It’s no secret I work with the eating disorder population, addictions, along with depression and anxiety—and at this point many of my patients are struggling with their emotions, not to mention their food addictions and/or eating disorders. Some are dipping into foods they’d not eaten in years while others are going to the store two and three times a day hoarding food for fear they won’t get it and still others are turning to restriction. And of course the temptation for the drug addicts and alcoholics in recovery struggle too.
Tension is at an all time high. Two of my sisters have close friends who have a relative that ended their lives because of the pressure of what is and what might happen financially and/or medically. And several of my patients have lost a loved one to the corona virus or know someone who lost a loved one.
Even my facebook friends post their losses to the virus and some I knew and know—one of which was my boss, the pharmacist from the local drug store, who I worked for when I was eighteen years old. In fact, when I think of the pharmacist it brings me back to those years and my job to “man” the film counter. My job, my only job was to distribute processed film packages and take negatives and sell whatever was on or near my counter.
My job was NOT to eat the edibles. I wondered often why the pharmacist never reprimanded me for eating the chocolates that hung off the Dove Chocolate stand in pretty bright green and salmon colored foil paper, where I was positioned. I didn’t just eat one or two, no I ate tons and then rearranged them so it didn’t look like there was one blaring bare spot. No surprise there, an addict parked in front of chocolates to her taking is an addicts dream come true.
Are you dipping into your addiction? Do you find your mood is sinking low? Or maybe you’re feeling wired and anxious. If so, you are not alone. This is tough time for many on one level or another. Just about every patient I see knows of someone who died from the virus and everyone I know knows several people who had the virus. And many are struggling to cope.
So, no matter if we pretend the virus is not real or not so serious this thing still lurks out there in some capacity, and for sure it’s not going away from our memory any time soon. This will forever be etched in our minds, especially when you start to think about Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, summer vacations, flying to your favorite in state or out of state place because it involves people and congregating. You will stop in your tracks and realize, “wait a minute, can I partake in activities or not yet?” Maybe yes, probably no.
We already passed through Easter, Passover and other religious holidays without our family—will we continue through the summer with many activities that we might have to pass on. I booked and unbooked a flight to Chicago several times over the past few days uncertain if it’s good to go or not.
And then the anxiousness perks back to attention. And maybe you think of eating this or drinking that or smoking this or vaping that to numb out or calm you down—just this once. You are not alone—many want to jump into escape but take it from a food addict in recovery, if you jump into your addiction you’ll only find you now have the original worry and now created another problem that’s not worth it.
Instead of diving into another issue, go for a walk, jump in the pool or lake or ocean (if your area allows you to!), plant flowers, write in your journal, take a bike ride…anything but eat, drink, snort or whatever your vice is. It’s not worth it….
Do you find you are having a hard time getting on with your life with this virus lurking out there? What do you do to quiet your fears? Do you find you are worrying more than usual? Maybe you are doing fine, we’d love to hear from you too? We can all learn from each other.
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Hugs to you, I care!
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No More Diet Mentality!
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.