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A Very Special Post On The Virus and My Blog

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Hi everyone! I know I didn’t post last week (in case you didn’t know, I try to post a blog post every week but utterly failed at it last week. My bad! I explain why I skipped it though, so please read on!), though I truly did mean to. Last week was a really scary week for me, and I’m sure for a lot of other people too, because of this virus that has spread across the world. While I won’t go into too much about the virus itself (I think it already has enough time in the spotlight, let’s be honest, and I’m not one to give advice, and I’m sure we’ll doing all we’re supposed to, like washing our hands and staying away from others), I just wanted to talk about where I was at with everything and how it will affect my blog going forward.

As news of the coronavirus/COVID-19 spread, I wasn’t worried too much (I'm embarrassed to say). It seemed to be so far away from me, the people I love, and where I live. But then that all changed a few weeks ago, and the sh*t really hit the fan last week. The US government got involved, introducing us all to social distancing, self-quarantine/isolation, cities, states, and countries now ordered to shelter in place or be on lockdown, and all of the fast changing facts that keep getting thrown at us on the news and social media. And it suddenly struck me. The reality of this virus hit me really, really hard. In a very personal way.

Why the Virus and Its Impact Is A Very Personal (And Scary, Obviously) Issue to Me

In case you didn’t know (which makes sense because I’ve never mentioned it on this blog because it was such a hard time for my family and not something I like to think about too much), I almost lost my dad two years ago. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, serious scarring of the lungs. His options were to go on oxygen and that he might need a lung transplant in the future. Only a few months later, after being on oxygen, his lungs started to fail. Before I knew it, he was on life support and on the list for a new pair of lungs. But we weren’t sure if he was going to make it or he would get a transplant in time; he was declining that fast. It was probably the scariest thing I (and the rest of my family) have ever gone through; to think that I could lose my father and not be able to say goodbye was unthinkable and devastating. Thankfully, his dire situation put him at the top of the transplant list and he was able to get a new pair of lungs, and after a long road to recovery, his life back.

Now, my dad is a prime candidate for someone who could be seriously affected (and you know what I mean by "affected") by this virus. He’s over 65, and with his new lungs, he’s on immunosuppressants to keep his body from rejecting his lungs. Not only is he not going out if he doesn’t have to (doctors appointments only! As a transplant patient, he kind of has to stay on top of that sort of thing), but he’s taking extra precautions to stay safe (he wears a mask every time he goes out). After almost losing my dad a few years ago, to say I am worried about this virus is possibly the understatement of the century.

My Hell Week (Not a College Hazing Thing, But In A Way It Sure Felt Like It)

All of this anxiety really came to a head last week. Not only was there a mix up with my doctor’s office and my insurance about my anxiety medication (it was literally a real life nightmare so I won’t get into it!), so I was essentially off of my anxiety medication entirely (not fun. You never really realize how much you need a medication until you are completely off of it!). Mix that with trying to get toilet paper aka waiting in line outside of the grocery store from 4am to 6am, only to learn by a stressed employee (I didn't blame them at all, poor thing) five minutes before the store opened at 6am that there wasn’t a delivery of toilet paper the night before (though we did call to confirm that there would be!). And then throw in all of the bombardment on the news of updates on the virus in other countries and now in my country, ever evolving facts, and stories from around the world, the lack of sleep caused by all of this worry, and I was a hot anxious mess. Lacking any anxiety medication, all I could do was lay in bed, heart pounding with panic, palms sweaty, shaking, and watch YouTube, trying to distract myself from my obsessive thinking about how every time I leave my house, I could be exposing my father to the virus when I got back home. It was hell and I couldn’t stop thinking that way. I couldn’t blog (I couldn’t even think straight to write!), skipped social media altogether, stayed away from the news, even stayed away from my dad (just in case I had somehow been exposed), and just tried to survive until I could get my anxiety medication back and so I could think straight again.

Having anxiety, OCD, depression, or other mental health problems during a crisis like this is just awful. Everything is magnified and when you have to stay at home, you tend to be alone with your thoughts and can’t help but focus on the worst or the possible worst case scenarios. That’s where I was and it was terrifying. I kept thinking that I almost lost my dad once, and I cannot lose him again. He was saved by a literal medical miracle procedure aka an organ transplant and now I could lose him to this jerk of a virus? It wasn’t fair and I couldn’t stop thinking that these could be my last days with my dad. I wanted to spend time with him, but my OCD was telling me that if I did spend time with him, I may unintentionally be a carrier and infect him.

How This All Made Me Start Thinking About What I Want My Blog To Be Like During These Crazy Times

Thankfully, I’m back on my anxiety medication (wuhoo! Suck it, chemical imbalance!) and my worries have been slightly lessened. I’m still scared for my dad being exposed and I’m only going out if I have to. But after last week’s anxiety hell week, it really made me think about how this virus will affect my blog. I obviously talk about my life through this blog, but I really do try to write about fun and silly things, with some serious subjects, like my mental health stories, thrown in (you know, just for some color!). But after my horrid week, I realized that we are all so surrounded by news of this virus 24/7, that I don’t want to talk about it on my blog, unless I really want to or have to. I want my blog to be a source of light and fun during this crazy and scary time. I’m not not acknowledging the horribleness that comes with this virus, but I’m also not going to let it rule and overshadow something I enjoy doing. I think we all need that distraction, since we’re all dealing with the virus and it’s horrible consequences in real life, every single hour of every single day.

So when you read my blog, please don’t think I’m ignoring what’s happening in the world if I write about something silly or happy and don’t discuss the virus and what’s going on at the current moment. I am very much aware of everything and my heart is with every single person who is affected by this awfulness. We’re all scared and so am I. But I want my blog to be a little haven of happiness and weirdness in this time of chaos and anxiety. I think we could all use a bit of distraction during these troubling times, and I am more than happy to be able to provide that for anyone who could use a break from the harsh real world we are all living in.

Let’s Focus on the Good in the World

And despite all of the scariness that is happening at the moment, I am trying to focus on the good. I am thankful for the people who are taking this seriously and are staying at home to stop the spread of infection (I thank you so much for doing this, because you are protecting vulnerable people like my dad!), the people who are offering their help and their household supplies (toilet paper, food, hand sanitizer) to friends, family, and those in need, and everyone who is reaching out via e-mail, text, video chat, and social media. Basically, I’m super thankful for the internet for bringing us all together, while this virus is forcing us to stay apart. This pandemic may not be ending for a while, but I am so grateful for the generous people who are making life a little kinder, just by either checking on people via text or direct message or dropping things off at a neighbor's door. It’s the little things that matter right now and can make the most difference right now. So be there for people and help out when you can! (But still social distance, of course)

So I hope you understand why my blog isn’t going to switch focus and become something very serious and dark. If nothing else, my blog staying the same and not changing in a way is for me, to continue with some semblance of normalcy (or in my case, weirdness) and to hopefully be a distraction that we could all use during this scary and uncertain time. If you’re game for going along on this ride with me, I’d be so honored and grateful. I’ll try to make my blog as weird, fun, and distracting of a place to be while we’re all going through this horrible time. If I can help distract you with just one blog post, then I’ll know this little hobby won’t be in vain. If you have some fun blog post ideas for me to do, please leave them in the comments below! I have a few things brewing (that may or may not be a Harry Potter reference), but I’d love some suggestions!

And I just wanted to end with this picture that’s been circling around the internet right now. I’m also so grateful for the people who are not staying at home, because they have very important jobs to do. Thank you to everyone who has to work out in the open and are putting their lives at risk to keep our society healthy and functioning. We owe you so much! (Though they forgot to mention pharmacy workers, who are also the real MVPs right now!)

Also, I know this time is very hard on people with mental health issues (as you could obviously see from my own experience!), so please if you can, try to talk to a therapist, friend, or someone you trust if you need to talk or vent. Lots of doctors are now offering virtual appointments (like through Skype), so if you're suffering and scared, please try to make an appointment and talk through your fears with someone. And my e-mail is always open, so feel free to shoot me a message if you need to talk. Just remember, even though the world is a scary place right now, you're not alone. I promise. 💖 (Also, my friend Tanya over on That Phat Girl Blog has some excellent tips for keeping calm in stressful situations, like the one we're currently in now. I found it so helpful and I think you might too. Read it here)

8 comments on "A Very Special Post On The Virus and My Blog"
  1. I debated a change in the content that I would share on Alternatively Speaking but I've continued my usual approach for exactly the reason you shared - I want it to be somewhere where people can go to escape the constant barrage of coronavirus related news.

    1. Hi Britt! I'm so glad we're on the same page! I honestly would have still read Alternatively Speaking even if the subject matter would have changed (I mean, you still would be writing some kick-ass posts!) but I'm glad you're still going to be sticking with your same content. I think we all need that distraction right now and I'm so grateful that you're doing that so *I* can escape and be entertained when I'm on your blog <3

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! It means the world to me! xoxo

  2. I really feel your pain, as you read on my blog I had a similar experience with my grandparents - it's torture! Honestly I was exactly the same to start with in that I wasn't really too worried about the virus. I had the mentally of 'it's not in in the UK yet, it'll be fine' - how wrong I was! The whole time I had it in my head that it'd be like when we had the Ebola virus - we'd have one or two cases and that'd be it. It's awful that things have gotten to this point now, and it's incredibly scary! I'm still seeing people defying the rules about going out and spending time with each other and I'm like WTF are you doing?! Just do as your told for once! I really appreciate you sticking with your usual content, so much of the internet right now is crammed with stuff about this virus and it's really unhelpful, especially when you have anxiety issues! Thank you for sharing this, it's made me feel less alone with the whole situation and I'm sure it will do the same for others too :)
    Amy |

    1. Hi Amy! I related SO much to your blog post!! I thought of it kind of like Ebola too- but then it just kept spreading and spreading and now it's just everywhere. I'm glad the UK and the US are doing better about enforcing rules. Though it still boggles my mind why people are STILL going out and not following the six feet apart rule!! So frustrating! And thank you for saying that. I didn't want to NOT acknowledge the virus, but at the same time, it's in my everyday life (and making my anxiety worse because of my fear for my dad) and my blog is sort of my escape, and hopefully for others as well. So thank you for that vote of confidence in my blogging choice! And I'm so happy it's made you feel less alone. Your comment made me feel a lot less alone and not feel like I'm the only one who's anxiety/mental health is kind of delicate right now. Thank you so much for reading and commenting and stay safe!! <3 <3 <3

  3. I'm right with you with how my blog is going to be. I'm just trying to keep it the same way it is because making posts about it constantly isn't going to help me either. It's bad enough that's all that's ever talked about in my house. Sending you and your family love and light ♥


    1. Hi Deandra! I'm so glad we're on the same page and you're going to keep your blog the same amazing and positive place it is during this crazy time. I feel like it'll be a good escape for people. I think it's brave of people to blog about what's going on, but it's a bit too much for me, and like you, I'm surrounded by it and it's being talked about all the time, and I could use the break. Thank you! I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy as well. xoxo

      Thank you for reading and for your wonderful comment! <3

  4. "I want my blog to be a little haven of happiness and weirdness in this time of chaos and anxiety." Way to go, Emily! I love how much compassion you have. I hope your family will stay safe in these difficult times. Everything will turn out fine!

    1. Aww thank you so much, Julie! I'm glad you approve! I've seen a lot of bloggers sort of transition to the times, and while I think that's great, I don't think that's the right move for me :) You're so sweet!! I hope your family (and yourself, of course!) stay safe too! <3


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