If you're new here, I don't talk about work, in fact, I say that I'm a spy... that that's my job, so that if I do want to say something about work, I imagine old spy movies or Mission Impossible or the sort of Hollywood cheesy movie stereotypes and that's what I pretend I do for work. You know, rappelling down from the ceiling on a special cord (rope?) and avoiding the laser security lights to steal the big diamond? Yeah, that's what I pretend. Mainly because it makes me smile. (And hey, if I actually am a spy? I've done the like double negative psychological trick to make you think I'm not, huh? Yeah... genius right here!)
I've been off work for a (very) long time now due to (mental) health issues. I honestly have been getting better, far more slowly than I could ever have imagined, and I think it's no surprise to anyone that the pandemic was a huge setback for my progress and well being. I think most of us have had that experience over the last year to some extent or other and while I can see some almost advantages my pre-pandemic situation might have given me (I've been pretty isolated as I tried to manage my health, so lockdown and not seeing anyone wasn't a massive change for me) I don't think I've been honest with myself about how much it negatively impacted me.
Because of reasons (ahem - you can read into that that I'm not entirely onboard but I get the "why"), they (health professionals and... others...) are going to have me trying some volunteering in "the next while". Now being a spy means interacting with people, it just does, and I am not not not comfortable with that due to the pandemic, and that's just an added bonus freakout on top of the "oh God you want me to do this work thing again? even though it made me sick?" (simplification). I've been pretty intensely limiting my interaction with people during the pandemic. I see Jason (he and I talked about this early on and made the choice to be "bubble people" for each other, which, I know makes me luckier than many). I have, over the year, seen a friend or two at a distance. Gone for a walk or two. Seen my parents outside in their parking lot at a distance. But in terms of shopping or doing... things? Yeah, I've limited that. I've probably been in a store less than 20 times over the last year (well ok, starting in March...). Ordering online has been my go to. And so malls or restaurants or pubs or anything at all? I haven't done and do not plan on doing. Well, except now I will be... for work.
I try to be calm and logical with myself and tell myself that I have good protocols and practices (even though I know I've gotten a bit lackadaisical....). I tell myself that "workplace" has had a year to sort out their protocols, and, well, I'm telling myself it kind of just is what it is.
But I can tell that my system is freaking the BLEEP out. Understandably, to be fair... but it's not helpful. I tell myself that some people are doing all sorts of things... working and shopping and restaurants and they're doing all those things and staying well. (Sort of?). I will try to be mindful of my hands and what they touch, and I will maintain as much distance as I can, and I will wear a mask, and others will too and I'll remind myself that stressing makes you more likely to get sick as the stress hormones weaken the immune system and so I should just... um... try not to stress. Like I know I have friends who have been doing spy work this whole time. And getting their own groceries, and while they're concerned, they don't seem freaked out. I know I'm currently more prone to freaking out than most... I know all this. I can have the logical, adult conversations with myself, but my system is, well it's like that movie Inside Out, if you saw it and remember? When the little control people are all running around wild and out of control. That's my system. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Etc.
So while this has been on the theoretical calendar for a while, the fact that it's sort of a "now" thing is probably part of my current state of "really not ok". And no, I'm not going to avoid it - even though I probably could. I'm going to try. And I'm going to hope that once I do the thing my system can relax somewhat. Like, oh, ok, I'm ok... this is ok.... I can worry less. Or maybe even stop. Cuz that would be nice. That would be a huge relief. I would like that very much.