Notes from a pandemic

I’m not even sure what day it is anymore or how long I’ve been stuck at home.

I find that I have two major moods: gratitude for how good my life still is in spite of the pandemic and a steady underlying beat of anxiety.

The anxiety is manifesting in weird ways. On the surface, I don’t feel very anxious. But I know that I am because my MS symptoms are really acting up again. I also know I’m anxious because I’m going into panic-buying mode. When I found out that I could order from Costco and have it delivered to my house, I went even more crazy with over-buying than I normally do at Costco.

Mind you, none of it is to hoarder level. And of course, they’re out of stuff every place is out of, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Instead, I’m stocking up the small deep freezer in our garage, which my mother-in-law bought for us last year. Soymilk is a regularly consumed product in my house and it’s getting hard to find, so I got a case of shelf-stable soymilk.

It’s like all of a sudden, my preparedness has gone into overdrive. I’m sure it’s some type of OCD, my sheer terror over running out of anything. It’s always been my job to keep the house well-stocked and I’m taking it even more seriously now. Hell, I just noticed that we were starting to run low on hand soap, so I ordered a case from Amazon. Me plus more money than usual equals hyper-preparedness.

I’m going to start making masks for all of us tomorrow when the elastic I ordered gets here, for the rare occasions when we have to go out. I’m sending some to my parents, too.

But I know that the real issue behind all of this is that on some subconscious level, I think that if I prepare enough, the virus won’t get me or my family. I’m doing all my shopping online so at least I’m putting myself at minimal risk and none of the rest of us are leaving the house, either.

Yet, alternately, I also feel very consciously grateful several times a day. We could be so much worse off than we are. In fact, we were so much worse off than we are now for many years of our lives. I’m still finding ways to be generous to others, as well as to dump lots of money into savings.

The future is unknown and uncertain. This crisis is making it clear how deep the cracks are in society and especially in terms of access to healthcare. We have the worst possible leader for a time like this.

But at the same time, even if disaster strikes me and our fates turn for the worse, I know I’ll get through it. In the meantime, I’m just trying to enjoy and appreciate what are good times for me. My husband is working from home and I love that. My kids are all here and are healthy and safe. I can afford to stock up, be generous, and save money at the same time. I think it’s important to know how to be happy even during scary or uncertain times.

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