Lockdown has been many things for me. It’s been boring. It’s been fun. It’s been painful, and it’s also been downright depressing. But it’s also been eye-opening to my own human behavior. Never in my life have I had to look in the mirror more and deal with roadblocks and internal struggles in such an intimate way.
Pre-quarantine, whenever I had an issue, there were all these external distractions stimulating my mind. I could go get a drink with my friends or go for a night out. I could go for a mini adventure in London or have a day trip to a park. These were all ways to cope, and I didn’t realize that all of these had one common denominator: being outside. It’s such a simple concept, but when we went into lockdown, all of the sudden, I had to cope in my home.
I was away from family and friends in the US, I had to step up in my job (which felt up in the air), and I didn’t know what the hell was happening with the virus. To say the uncertainty made me spiral would be an understatement. Even though I live my life with a pretty loose timeline—aka I don’t plan by the minute to the minute—I always like to know what’s happening in my present time. Somehow feeling I know all the facts and figures now can help me feel more at ease for the future.
And that was pulled from everyone in the world. Certainty was like a nice warm hug, and it was as if the uncertainty was a toxic friend. One day, my roommate and I would be playing cards or having a glass of wine completely at ease, and then uncertainty would drop by in the form of an alarming news story. The point is the unknown is really scary. And rather than sit in that anxiousness, I wanted to figure out where this fear stemmed from. So first, to the magical inner workings of the internet.
As always, Google informed me that this all draws back to my childhood. One article explained that some people need constant control because they grew up in an environment where they had very little of it. When we get older as adults, the inconsistent environment doesn’t stick with us, but the constant need for validation and stability does. Well, that makes total sense for me, actually. And the key for coping with this anxious attachment style? Self-reliance. I needed to realize I’m not a kid, and as an adult, I can neither be abandoned nor coddled anymore. Craving control didn’t make me crazy by any means, but knowing where it stemmed from was comforting.
So now that I knew where it stemmed from, how could I manage that? How could I stop the constant worry that my family would get sick or that the virus was going to spread? Because the truth was, that was a possibility, right?
Well, it was, but the key is mindfulness. Not only was I able to use technology to determine my fears, but I also could easily download apps such as Head Space. Fam, meditation is not playing around. Doing some light yoga and meditation in the morning was life-changing. Simple breathing exercises helped ease my mind in seconds. At the same time, it helped me shift my mindset. While I don’t have control over the virus, I have a huge amount of control over prevention. While I might not know if my family will be okay, I know that making regular phone calls and check-ins help.
During lockdown, reading books, making fun recipes, and exercising regularly have gotten me through a rough patch of overthinking. And so has sharing my struggles. I know there’s lots of people who may be struggling with the thoughts, “When will this end? I can’t plan around the virus,” or any iteration of this. But what I’ve learned is that communication is everything! If you never express your needs or struggles in life, no one will be able to help you. And I guarantee you someone else feels exactly the same and feels comforted by knowing they’re not the only one.
And maybe I don’t know what the next few months look like in advance, but for now, taking a day at a time is a success for me. A lot of the time in life, you can’t eliminate fears, insecurities, and anxieties, you just have to learn how to cope with them and conquer from there. And letting go of my need for control is a huge step in the right direction.