Mixed emotions and surrealism


This is a meme going around Facebook right now and it couldn’t be more appropriate for what the last two weeks have looked like. I have to admit when I first saw it I laughed. I am not laughing anymore. It’s been two weeks of mixed emotions and a completely surreal feeling. The Coronavirus and Covid-19 have been in our vocabulary for a while now but as I am pretty sure all of you know by now watching it unfold from a distance is one thing, but when it becomes your reality it’s a whole different thing, and it shouldn’t be. I mean it’s not like we didn’t know it was coming, we did, we knew, but again having no cases of it here and watching it unfold elsewhere is terrifying and unsettling but you can’t help but still have that little tiny part of you that says, well, maybe it won’t actually happen here or maybe it won’t be so bad.

Having never been through an epidemic myself before really, never mind a pandemic I guess I was one of those ones that watched in almost fascinated horror wondering how it could be happening but compartmentalized it because I had never really lived through anything similar. We never really got affected by SARS in 2003. H1N1, I don’t know but it just never seemed that bad here in Nova Scotia and I was also half a world away in Afghanistan. So this is really the only one that I can actually remember the province actually doing anything about. And doing something about it we are. Today they declared a State of Emergency in Nova Scotia. We had no cases on March 14th, 2020, three presumed on March 15th, 2020 and now 7 days later we have 28 cases. I honestly don’t know how that compares to other places, so don’t ask me… I really don’t know.

For a week officially we have been practicing social distancing. However, Edward and I have been doing it longer since I was concerned about my parents who live close to us and are in their mid to late 60’s and not in the greatest health and also because Eddie and I both have Asthma and I am a diabetic. Two days ago (I think, the days are all starting to melt together and it’s only been a week) our Prime Minister (of Canada) closed our borders to non-Canadian and told all Canadians overseas it was time to come home and also that if they didn’t they may risk not being able to get home for a while.

Today the Province has banned any gatherings of more than 5 people, including stores (exceptions would be essential stores like grocery or pharmacies where we still have to practice social distancing), workplaces, etc. Schools were closed earlier in the week for at least a weeks, probably longer. A few days ago to was anything over 150 people. They have closed all beaches and provincial parks in the province. They have told all workplaces to shut down and move people to work from home if at all possible and implemented fines for not social distancing or self-isolation if you came from out of province within the last 14 days. They have advised us to stay in our neighbourhoods and not travel around the province and closed our provincial borders and stay at home as much as possible and have one person do groceries alone and isolate anyone who is sick within the home as much as possible.

And, of course, I have been sick for almost 3 weeks now with a cold or flu. I am not sure which as I seem to have all symptoms of both and of Covid-19 as well. I can’t be tested though because I haven’t travelled outside the province. We can’t isolate me any further within the house as our whole house is super tiny. We are following all other precautions and staying 6ft apart and facing away from each other when sleeping. We also have not seen my parents in almost 2 weeks other than the one or two times Eddie has seen mom or dad at Walmart as he still has to work.

All of this is necessary and most of us, myself and Eddie and my parents included have been calling for the government to do this for almost 3 weeks or even since the first cases started in Canada because we know our healthcare system would quickly become overwhelmed and people would die. This is all in hopes that we can slow the curve so the health care system can deal with it better and provide the best care possible while not having to make the decisions that officials in Italy have had to make over the last few weeks. We will know for sure in a few weeks to a month or so if it’s working.

Today though, the province decided to take that extra step as people were not listening and ignoring what they were being asked to do. Mentally I am not sure how I am doing. I am having so many feelings and emotions. I actually got approved for my government student loan. Even though schools are closed mine is actually an online school based in Alberta and so far is not affected by all the closures and the couple of provinces that have also declared states of emergencies, at least not yet. We have no physical classes, all virtual so for now we are safe and my start date should be June 1st, 2020. I’m excited and happy about that but feel a bit guilty being happy about something when everything else is going on all over the world right now.

This has been such a bad year the whole world over. I really hope that the countries, WHO and medical officials worldwide can get this under control but we are being told it could be the end of summer or even longer and to prepare for the worst-case scenario just in case we stay in a state of emergency for longer. I’m scared but also know I am not alone and that probably everyone I know and everyone reading this is probably dealing with the same thing or similar right now or will be soon or have already been dealing with it. So I know I am not alone but that doesn’t make me feel any better knowing other people are feeling the same uncertainty and fear I am.

Oh yeah and the end of the meme? The snow? Well, we are getting a storm Tuesday and it’s calling for strong winds again (anyone who’s read any of my posts since the beginning of last summer knows we’ve been hit hard this year with storms), heavy rain and a ton of snow again. So yeah. It does kinda feel like life is being written by a 4th grader at the moment.

Things my anxiety keeps me from doing

Anxiety and therapy

I’ve been in therapy for about a month now and I am finding it really beneficial. I might write a bit more about therapy later however I wanted to do a post on something that my psychologist asked me to do the other day. I was mentioning to her that I have found over the last few years, and especially recently that my anxiety feels like a roadblock or mountain sometimes when it comes to doing certain things that either I used to love doing or that I want to try. We talked about it for a while and she asked me to make a list to bring in for my next session of things that my anxiety has either prevented me from doing or stopped me from trying and I thought it was a great idea and would also make a good blog post as well.

She knows I blog, its something I told her right up front on our first session and she was really happy to hear that I blog and she mentioned in the last session as well that she thought it would be a good idea if I wanted to post it on my blog so I can keep a record of the things as I mentioned I am at a point right now where I really want to push through some of these fears and anxieties and give these things a try again or for the first time. We both figured it would be something very therapeutic for me to not only blog the list but also blog each step of tackling the list and the results so that in years to come I can reflect back on it if needed.

I had mentioned to her about going back through some of my old posts from some of my darker times and reading them and some of the posts since then to see how far I’ve come along over the years as well as remind myself that if I have been able to overcome all this before and live a life almost without depression or anxiety for a number of years that it is possible that I might be able to get to that point again with or without medications and give me a goal to look forward to and achieve.

1. Returning to school

One of the first things I would like to tackle and actually already am in the process of doing before even deciding to make this list, but that I am going to include is going back to school. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long long time. Before Eddie and I even got together. I have been wanting to do it so bad but I have been so anxious about the application process, funding and mostly the work itself and how I would be able to handle it, that I have literally been sitting on this for over 10 years letting it fester and annoy and confuse me. Everything that happened over this past 2 months has actually been a mixed blessing in disguise and has pushed me outside my comfort zone so much that making the decision and starting the process to act on it has been almost easy

I am applying as soon as my tax return money comes in, which I filed tonight. I’ve had a bit of an issue saving up the money but then earlier today I filed our taxes and realized I will have enough to apply from it. I netfiled our taxes so we should have the money direct deposited within two weeks. My EI for the last few months has been approved as well and backdated so that should help out. I am still having a lot of anxiety over the process of applying for the student loan/line of credit and also with doing some of the other things I need to do before I apply and have been putting them off. I need to update my name on my Alberta student ID account and Revenue Canada. So these things have been getting in the way some but I am determined to get them done before the end of the week. Goals.

2. Going skiing again

I have loved skiing ever since I was about 5. We used to go all the time in Europe and in Calgary when we lived there. I have also gone here as we have a ski hill about an hour away. I so badly wanted to go this year and though finances have been a big reason for not going and time to go as well has been an obstacle I think if I am absolutely honest with myself the biggest hurdle for me has been anxiety. Mostly about the shape my body is in, and by that, I don’t mean my size. I am not worried about that what I am referring to is the pain I am always in and the fact I get hurt fairly easily.

I missed my chance this year but I want to use the summer to get into a bit better shape, again not meaning losing weight so much as just building up my strength and endurance. Losing weight would just be an added bonus at this point as I have already lost some. One of the things that terrifies me the most about skiing is falling. I remember some of the falls and just getting up and shaking it off and I am scared that I won’t be able to do that now. What if I break something or end up back on crutches again? The hip injury I had the summer before last weighs heavily on my mind and makes me anxious. I think I am scared more over the fact that I will go and not be able to do it then not trying at all. I just don’t want that type of anxiety and fear to stop me from doing the things I love or trying new things.

3. Go river tubing

One thing I have always wanted to do but have always been really anxious about doing is going tubing on the Gaspereau River. We planned it last summer but because of my anxiety we never ended up going. I love the water. I love swimming and am not scared of the water and actually I kind of technically have gone tubing this past September on the Annapolis River but not really in the way that I mean. Tubing on the Gaspereau river you actually tube down the river on the tube quite a ways. What makes me anxious the most is the same thing I really had to overcome this past fall and really didn’t resulting in a kind of hilarious fail which I am now anxious about repeating

I am absolutely terrified of spiders and this fall I participated in a community race at Ciderfest in Bridgetown where we got into tubes off of a dock in the river and then using oars had to use them to get across the river to the other side, around a buoy and back to the dock. My anxiety at doing this is so high because the docks are full of dock spiders which are huge typically and the spiders tend to crawl all over the tubes. I managed to do it and get on and go all the way around the buoy and back (in last place) but not before trying to avoid the edge of the dock and jump on the tube, which resulted in me bouncing off it and landing in the frigid water in my clothes (it was the middle of September, a rather cold one at that).

Tubing the Gaspereau would be different and I am not really sure where we would get on the tubes and if there would be lots of spiders, but it still makes me so anxious just thinking about it, however, I can’t get it out of my mind and want to do it so bad. I am a bit scared and anxious about the water as well, I am told it is gentle but very murky and muddy which the Annapolis River was as well and I didn’t like that part much. I am absolutely determined I am going to do it.

4. Horseback riding

I used to horseback ride when I was younger and we lived in Germany and I enjoyed being around horses when we lived in Calgary though I didn’t ride as much, mostly just going to horse shows at Spruce Meadows. I really have been wanting to go horseback riding again. I would love to go on a trail ride. As much as it is something I really want to do anxiety (and weight) has kept me from doing it. Again it comes back to being anxious about failing, about not being able to get onto the horse or even worse falling off it Even though I am so much bigger (as in from a child to adult) then I was when I was a kid for some reason now horses seem so much bigger to me now then they did then. I am also anxious about getting kicked or hurt or stepped on. I am not sure my exact weight right now but I will have to look into finding places around to ride and see what their weight limit is and set it as a goal over the summer and maybe try and go riding in the fall.

5. Mud sliding

One thing Nova Scotia is known for is our tides and our sense of adventure and fun. Ever since I can remember, ever since I was a kid visiting here from other places, I have always wanted to go mud sliding. One of the best places to go is the Shubenacadie River. The tidal bores are pretty unique and when the tide goes out the muddy river banks make perfect places to go mud sliding. This is something I really want to do but at the same time, it really fills me with anxiety for a few reasons. The first one’s kind of dumb but basically I am anxious about ruining my clothes, the mud stains. Just wear old clothes right? Easy enough, except it still fills me with anxiety, I have no idea why. Secondly and a bit more of an actual problem is unless you do a full zodiak tidal bore tour and mud slide with them then really you have no access to a shower and well you need a car to get there and I have a brand new car (2019) and my anxiety goes through the roof when I think of all the mud in my car.

Obviously even someone without anxiety would feel the same but there is more to it than just the car and clothes. I am anxious about the tides even though I know you have to time it right and it’s not actually an issue but in my mind it is. I also am anxious about sliding down the bank and into a river that I might not know how deep it is or how fast-flowing, etc. Again, it’s not really an issue because you would not just go anywhere. You would go in certain places where everyone goes and you likely would not be alone as on a hot day the place would have tons of people, which for me causes some anxiety in itself. The whole bathing suit in public thing. Last year couldn’t care less but lately, I am getting more and more self-conscious at the idea which is weird because I never used to be.

No matter what I am determined that I am going to accomplish these things over the next year or two. I really feel like the only way to overcome the anxiety and fears is to confront it head-on and jump in feet first, carefully and safely obviously but still, just do it. Now, I’m at risk of sounding like a Nike commercial

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Doctors appointments & funny story

We traveled to Halifax today for a doctor’s appointment with our family doctor. Of all days today turned out not to be the best day to be on the roads in Nova Scotia. We had a big storm that came through the province today bringing a mess of weather. When we left it was calling for sustained winds of 80km/hour with gusts exceeding 100km/hour, not all that unusual here as we have been seeing more and more high winds, but they are damaging to trees and power lines and buildings. On top of that, we had everything from torrential downpours, higher than normal tides, flooding, slush, snow, ice pellets, and freezing rain and we got to experience it all while driving.

We left about 10 a.m., our appointments were at 2:30 and 2:45 so we could just go in together like we always do, my husband and I. It took us 4 hours driving the old highway all the way to New Minas, stopping at A&W for lunch and then the new highway the rest of the way. It’s usually a 2 1/2 hour drive but we just wanted to take it really slow and take our time. I actually enjoyed the weather. On the way up it started out windy before we left with some rain, by the time we got on the road it was pouring and as we drove up through the valley it would go from rain to ice pellets to freezing rain and back again. It was slushy and slippery but the car (and myself) handled it well.

No word of a lie by the time we were heading back from the doctor’s office around 4 p.m. it looked like the picture above from Halifax past Windsor and into the valley a ways. I asked Edward to get some pictures but as we were driving and the windows were covered in water and ice and the movement of the car they didn’t turn out. So I am using stock photos to give you an idea. It was so beautiful, even if a little hazardous to be driving in. Honestly though, only once or twice did it go through my mind why the hell are we still driving. There were so many people out on the roads. Surprisingly though everyone was going slow and careful. Nova Scotians are not usually known to slow down for the road conditions, something that annoys me so much.

Speaking of things that annoy me, funny story and maybe TMI but something kind of funny happened when we were in A&W that I feel like sharing. At least it was funny to me, if not somewhat annoying. When we got to A&W it surprisingly empty. I had to use the washroom so we ordered and while Eddie waited for our order I went to use the washroom. So here I am sitting on the toilet doing my business when someone walked in, there were only two stalls and she went into the second one. Almost right away her cell rang and she answered it in the washroom, one of my pet peeves, nothing can be so important that you can’t wait the 3 minutes it takes to use the washroom and call the person back, but no she answered it and started a conversation.

Photo by Fikri Rasyid from Unsplash

By this point, I’m done and struggling with a new roll of toilet paper that did not want to cooperate, you know how it is, it tears in strips and is all uneven and by the time you’re done with the roll it looks like Freddy Krueger got at it, or someones cat, not mine as he doesn’t do that, but someones cat. Anyways, it obviously made a lot of noise on those typical restartaunt and store metal contraptions they call toilet paper holders and I hear her say to the person she is having a conversation with “some people are so rude” and I thought she was talking about something else, maybe someone the other person mentioned.

So I flush the toilet and go to open the stall door and I hear “Do you mind? I’m trying to have a conversation here!” and I was like “Huh? Me” and she’s like “Yeah, you. You’re making a lot of noise and I’m trying to talk to someone.” At this point, I’m thinking WTH? Really is she shaming me because I dared to wipe my ass and flush the toilet in a public bathroom? What else was I supposed to do? Wait quietly in the stall till she finished talking to whoever she was talking to? It wasn’t like she answered quickly and said “I’ll call back”, no she decided to have a whole conversation, so I said very loudly “You’re in a washroom! Do you mind taking your conversation elsewhere? I’m trying to shit here”. I never heard another peep out of her. She never said anything else, but damned if I didn’t take extra-long and make all the noise I could turning on the water, getting soap, washing my hands, turning off the water, getting paper towel (no air dryer or I would have been sure to run that) and opening the washroom door.

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