Keeping up

Everyone knows that keeping up with life isn’t always easy.

My world has been complicated by all sorts of things, but the one thing I didn’t expect is HOW COVID affected me. I did get COVID, but that wasn’t an issue. It was a mild case and I had my vaccine boosters. I got over it pretty quick. No one in my family died because of the virus. I didn’t mind wearing the masks. In fact, I started to like it. They kept me protected from other things, as well; and I liked that. No, it was something else that has created ongoing affects. Though personally, the isolation of being quarantined wasn’t an issue for me, it did affect someone who I live with in an unexpected way. I actually enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to interact with people directly. It made things difficult in some ways, but easier in others. However, the other person in my life did not react as well to it.

A little background to her. She has had a mental illness since she was very young. There had been many different treatments that she has endured. Some worked, and most didn’t. She had been stable for many, many years and everything was going great. There were a few times that she had some setbacks, but she overcame those with a little extra help. Then came along COVID. She did catch it, as did everyone else in the household. She got over it, just as well. But the isolation did something to her. Something that has been very difficult to deal with. Most people would think that once the isolation was over that all a person needs to do is get back out there and do what they used to do, and that would be the case for someone who had a somewhat normal mental health.

To say that she is still feeling the isolation is putting it mildly. For over a year, she was isolated like most of us. Isolated, as far as interacting with the world on a daily basis. She had the others in the household to interact with, but that was not enough for her. She has always been the type who wanted to go out and mix and mingle. Being isolated, trapped her in her own mind and caused her to create her own interaction within herself. These creations made her withdraw from those around her and she dwelled upon them. The deeper she got, the worse it was. To this day, she drifts in and out of those worlds she created in her mind. The lines between reality and those worlds are indistinguishable to her.

If those imaginary worlds of her mind were pleasant, it might have been easier for her to let them fade away and stay within the reality that everyone else shares, but these worlds are far from pleasant. They are filled with addictions, confrontations, abuse and even death. She was overlaying those onto the reality around her and had no idea what was real and what wasn’t. It wasn’t only scary for her, but for those around her. It made others recoil and withdraw from her, making her isolation even worsen.

It is hard to be with someone who is in such a state of mind that they want you gone, or accuse you of atrocious things that even you could not have imagined yourself doing. Yet, the following day, they are happy and remember none of what they had said or done the day before. What do you say to someone when those horrible visions are played out in front of you, through her eyes. I have tried many different approaches. I have used kindness, patience, cold logic, anger. Nothing really broke through. There had been a few times that fear had made its way through the mess of inner worlds, but it was fleeting.

When I say fear, I don’t mean the fear of physical harm. That is something I will not do. I highly doubt that would be effective. In fact, it would just validate what those inner worlds are showing her. No, the fear I am talking about is the fear of loss. Losing someone they love due to their actions and words. The threat that that someone will leave them because that someone is at their wits end and can’t live that life anymore. Though it was only a threat, there were times that I wanted to actually make good on it. The pain that is felt by it all is truly incredible. I don’t know that many can say that they have ever felt that kind of pain before. To me, it is worse than losing someone to death. It’s like that but over and over again, because the one you love is never the same and may never be again.

The stress of this way of life has taken it’s toll on my health.  My life has changed considerably and not for the better. There is so much that I want to do, but I cannot, because I need to take care of the one who is in mental pain. I wish I could just wipe all of that away for her and make everything better for her, but I can’t. That just adds to the frustration of not being able to do much for her. That feeling of inadequacy and uselessness just builds over time. It has become a sort of depression that I bear. Something that I have to deal with and overcome. I often have to pick myself up and try my hardest to remain positive, so I don’t become angered or depressed by my situation. I try to remain hopeful that one day things will get better and back to normal. I’m not sure if that day will ever come, but I want it to.

So, yes, COVID has affected me in a bad way. More than anything, I wish it never happened. I’m sure that there are others out there that have felt the unknown side effects of this. I wish them all the best to overcome this. For me, the battle still rages on. I will continue to fight it. I have to, for her sake.