Corona Chronicles – Day 1

Last night, an alert was sent out. Dubai is to be in 24hr lock down for a minimum of 2 weeks. I would like to state here that I fully respect the decision made by the government of my Emirate and that of the country which I live. I believe they are doing what is right for us.

That said, last night I had a full panic attack. It was so bad that I couldn’t talk myself out of it. I had to call my Mum. I love talking to her but I absolutely hate worrying her and I knew she would worry. I had no other choice.

Why was it so extreme? So many reasons.

I have recently lost my job. The market out here is a tough place at the moment, and that was before all the recruitment freezes that Corona has bough on.

They have also stopped all air travel except emergency repatriation flights out, so I feel trapped. I am not planning on returning to the UK but having my option taken away was hard to get my head around.

Additionally, I came out of an increbily controlling and abusive relationship a year ago. It resulted in me facing court over the debts he had left me in. This is not a country where you want to face prison time for unpaid debts. I sorted it all out but it took its toll on the last of my ability to cope and I had a bit of a breakdown.

I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder by my psychiatrist. She has helped me find a medication balance but it by no means has cured me. It just means that I can be functional on a daily basis. I should be having therapy but unfortunately, due to the financial constraints I was left with, it’s not an affordable option.

So I am left to muddle through. This works reasonably well. Or it has until recently.

This weekend I deceided to drown my anxiety in vodka. This turns out to have been one of my more terrible decisions to date. It took away the last of my resolve and left me not only with a cracking headache the next day, but anxiety worse than it has been since I receive the court summons.

I spent the day hiding. I barely answered my phone, except to talk to my best friend where instead of talking, I just cried and cried. Then, when I was done talking to him, I cried on my own for a bunch more time. Literally the kind of crying that makes your body ache and exhausts you.

The next day wasn’t much better. The crying had stopped but I felt like I was circling a massive panic attack all day. By late afternoon/early evening, I had started to feel human. Roast dinners always help with that. I decided that I would have an early night and everything would be better in the morning.

That is when the alert came through. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I lost it completely. I tried so hard but having fought with my brain all weekend, I had nothing left to fight back with. Not even the Xanax worked quickly enough. There is only one thing left I can do in those situations, and that’s call Mum.

I am blessed to have such an incredible woman to call Mummy. It doesn’t matter what we are doing or where we are, we always know that her love, strength and support is only a phone call away. She always knows exactly what to say and do to break through when no one else or nothing else can. Within 15 minutes I had stopped crying and I could breathe some what normally again.

(Thank you again, Mummy. I love you so much.)

Fast forward a terrible nights sleep, nightmares, waking up panicking, and we at least got to daylight on Day 1 of the lockdown. Today’s tasks were to source some more masks, source some disposable gloves, and get to see my psychiatrist. These things poses their own unique set of worries.

Where do I find masks? Where do I find gloves? If I’m not allowed out without either, then how do I go out and get some? I have a mask but it has been used. Does that mean its not working any more? If I find them online, how long until they are delivered? Am I going to be able to go into the doctors without them? Will they have some that I can use to get in? But how do I get to the doctors? I don’t drive. I can’t walk. I can’t get a taxi because my mask my not work and I have no cloves.

And so on and so on and so on. Have you any idea how exhausting it is to be like this in your head?

I decided to don my mask and wear the gloves I had bought to go to Armenia, and nip down to Spinneys. I may have looked ridiculous but I was trying my best and thought that would be a good place to start.

When I arrived at Spinneys (which is in my building), I was very thankful to see that they had plastic gloves out for you to use. I figured I could now safely take off my mittens and wear the gloves to go through to the back of the store and buy gloves for myself. Even marigolds would do. I think everyone else had a similar plan. There were none left. At least I could use the gloves I had now to do the shopping and then get to the doctors later.

I did just that. I was super careful and antibac’d my hands in my gloves so that there wouldn’t be any transfers. Then I antibac’d my phone. And my handbag, just to be safe. No one is going to be left with any natural immunity by the time this is over due to all the antibac we are using.

I ordered an Uber (thanks to their CEO for the nice message about their preventative measures, it felt safer than a taxi) and toddled off to the Psychiatrist.

Upon arrival there are nurses on standby to give you a quick check up to make sure you are showing no signs of Corona. You are not allowed to see anyone else until you have. I think that is a good thing. They have enough to deal with without being subjected to the Covidiots.

Next up you get your weight taken (no covid gain yet!) and your blood pressure taken. Unsurprisingly mine was more than a little high – 148/93. I am usually a good 120/70 reading. But given the state of my brain at the moment, it was to be expected and I think my shrug reassured the nurse that I wasn’t about to die of heart failure or something.

Next up, the lovely Dr. Shrink (obvs not her real name but I’m not sure she would want to be named in my ramblings so I am not going to!). She is such a nice lady, and has helped me so much. The last time I went to see her I was doing so well that she gave me 2 months of medication because she felt I was on my way to recovery. This time she upped my dosages.

We had a good talk while I cried some more. I got momentarily lost wondering how much one person could physically cry before running out of tears, and made note to google later (answer: you can’t). We talked about my anxiety over not working and the financial implications, about my “i’m going to die alone” weekend, about my disgust at my body, about my absolute hatred that I am mentally so weak.

She is a really straight talker, which I like. She gave me a bit of a telling off about the way I was talking. Told me once again that I am too hard on myself. Made me promise to try and allow myself to cry. I shouldn’t force myself to stop. I should process what i am thinking. I am not a fan of this train of thought. My control issues are too strong most of the time but especially currently. I promised I would try though.

Feeling a little better for the chat, but much so for the new prescription, I ambled off to the pharmacy and hoped that my insurance would be quick with the approval so I didn’t have to be there for much longer. It was a fairly quick turn around for them which was nice.

Next stop was Waitrose. Spinneys in my building didn’t have any meat when I was in there, and I didn’t want to have to leave the house again for a few days. So instead, I thought it was logical to nip into Waitrose which is in the same building technically. Turns out they didn’t have any either really. Well, no turkey and very little beef. They had a huge supply of chicken but I don’t do chicken.

I got a few other bits that I needed (they had gloves!) and headed home again. I ordered an Uber once more, and on the way back he drove past a pharmacy I hadn’t noticed before. I asked him to stop so I could check for masks, and they had some! I was so relieved. It actually gave me a different sense of peace altogether. I had the things I needed so if I had to leave my apartment, I could.

I returned to my couch, had my lunch and didn’t feel like the walls were closing in on me. I rang Mum back so that she could see I was clear headed and functional again. I called my sister so she could see too. I then spent the majority of the day watching movies (I absolutely do not recommend Coffee & Kareem on Netflix) and texting people to make sure they were ok.

I also spent the day snacking myself in and out of sugar comas. This is something I seriously need to get a handle on and quickly. I have always loved a sweet snack or ten. I have also always been an emotional and boredom eater. It’s how I’ve ended up this size again after all the stress and upset of the last few years. I don’t want to get back to that version of me.

With this in mind, I cooked a lovely dinner. Well, Waitrose cooked half of it. I just plated it! Everyone in Bermuda and at home is talking about BBQs and that’s not something I can have but I can have the taste of BBQ on my plate. I did pork chops in a BBQ peri peri style sauce and cooked in the air fryer (which I am now dreading cleaning) so it would caramalize the sauce a little. It was incredible. I served it with mix leaf salad, roasted broccoli, roasted potato salad and coleslaw.

With a fully tummy and a rapidly emptying head, I went to bed fairly happy and quite sure that I can do this lockdown thing.

Much love, and stay safe xx

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