Hanging up the Pity Party Dress

Hi there!  I trust you are all safely tucked in your homes while we wait out this pandemic.  I know I am. This is such a scary time to be living through–I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, You know how you thought your grandparents were weird and your parents would tell you it was because they lived through the Great Depression?  Our grandkids are going to think we are weird and our kids will tell them it was because we lived through the coronavirus pandemic. I laughed, and then realized that it was true. 

It has become habit for me to wipe down all the doorknobs and cabinet handles several times a day.  I now think nothing of putting on latex gloves when I take care of the dog or the cats at the shelter, and it has become something I do when I am just getting the mail or really doing anything now.  And grabbing one of the face masks in the adorable wicker basket by the front door before I leave the house is as normal as grabbing my car keys. My new version of normal will be one that sticks with me (and you, I bet!) for a long time to come, even when the threat of illness has gone away.  It is kind of comforting to wear that mask when I am going out in public. I think it will be scary NOT to wear one anymore when we get to that point. And now I know I am going to tuck a few away to be more prepared for the next virus. Gone is the innocence of thinking that there could never be an outbreak like this.

With all of this turmoil and uncertainty, there have been good things as well.  For instance, I was promoted to Shelter Manager and moved into the onsite housing right before the world really went crazy.  You know, back when we SHOULD HAVE been taking the protective measures we are taking now, except no one thought this was real?  (For the record, including me.) I had been working closely with my team to get everything in order. Even when the shelter was closed to the public, it was still me and our assistant shelter manager taking care of the business.

Now, however, I am alone here.  A couple of weeks ago I realized that I might have been exposed to Covid-19, and everything changed. I met with the Board, and we decided that since we had only one dog on premises, I’d try to manage it until it’s considered “safe” to go back to some form of normal life.  The truth is, it isn’t too much work to handle; I just had no idea how isolating this would become. New house, new job, then the quarantine. Also, I am not open to help like I should be. I just don’t know how to say, I am feeling lonely or I am crying and can’t seem to stop, can you help? That pesky voice in my head just reminds me that if I express feeling  bad then I am just going to make everyone else feel bad, and it won’t accomplish anything except killing everyone else’s good vibe . Best to just suffer in silence and keep the peace.

I am reading on social media about other shelters and how they are delivering pet food to people and how they are acting as a temporary shelter for animals when people are sick.  It feels like yet another way that I am failing- as a shelter manager. We are not doing any of those things and the whole team has agreed that we don’t want to take in sick people’s pets.  Today, however, I reminded myself that I am running the place completely alone. No matter how you slice it, that’s just hard..

I started to feel a little better, but then I talked to a friend and she went over all she was getting done while still working.  She is also running things solo for the safety of everyone. It occurred to me that I don’t do much of anything outside of the normal care and love for the animals here.  I mean, yes, I am answering emails and such. Honestly though, that is about 2 hours of a day. When I really thought about it, I spend a bigger portion of my day laying on the couch watching movies or laying in bed because I am just tired.  I am not a psychologist but I would say that sounds like a pretty clear case of depression!

Maybe it is the self isolation that has thrown me into a pit but it is going to be me to start digging out.  Tomorrow morning I am taking a yoga class online and following it up with a 30 minute rebounding video. I am not going to sit here and say I am going to be productive and Superwoman, but I am going to keep track of my days.  One of two things will happen–either I will realize that I actually do have productive days, or I will realize that I am wasting time and be more motivated to fix it. I am not usually a pity party girl and I don’t intend to start now!