Tag Archives: covid-19

I is for Inside, IT, and iTunes, Indecision, and Irritation All the I Words

My apologies in advance.  I had wanted the Title to look like this:  I is for Inside, IT, and iTunes, Indecision, and Irritation All the I Words but I can’t make it work, so it looks stupid.  And also, this is a long blog, and I sort of nerded out for the first few paragraphs, but it gets better (?) as it goes along. So, enjoy.

We are taking a break from therapist talk today. It’s Sunday, a day of rest (well, it was when I started this iteration of the I is for blog).

Today has mostly been an inside day. Luckily, April has been mostly sunny here lately in the ‘ham. I’ve managed to get a lot of color in the past few days, even burning the tops of my feet, but today hasn’t been as nice out as previous days, so I’ve spent most of it inside. I’ve been working on my jigsaw puzzle, grooming the cat who is 19 and has some really awful matted fur, doing three Sunday crossword puzzles, futzing with my ancient Dell desktop so it will play my music properly, trying to find drivers for the keyboard but I only have use of one of those stupid ball mouses (since the keyboard drivers don’t seem to exist), so that is extremely time consuming.

Before I was a therapist, I worked in IT for about 15 years, so I know computers, but ugh. This project is ridiculously tedious. I have never really wrapped my mind fully around iTunes, but that is where nearly all of my music is trapped—in iTunes on the very old Dell with 4GB of RAM. I usually only use the music on said computer during the summer when I hook up the deck speakers, but summer is here early this year due to this pandemic, and the days I’m not seeing clients, I’ve got nothing but time, so.

I wanted to get the music from the Dell to my iPhone but when I plugged the phone into the PC, iTunes didn’t recognize it as a device. (For those who care, I can’t find a thumb drive anywhere in my house though I know I have a few somewhere, and my Time Machine doesn’t register on the Dell, so the iPhone it is).  Long story short, I updated iTunes. Which worked to move the music (i.e. iTunes sees my iPhone) but now when I play music from the computer, it cuts off mid-song and goes to the next one. And when it’s not doing that, it stops playing to ask me for my iTunes password which is actually my ex-wife’s and I have no idea. But it wasn’t doing this until I updated the software. (Thanks Microsoft, this is why I have a Mac and an iPhone and am no longer in IT).

Ultimately, I did a system restore and that has helped some but not completely. I give up. There are many more productive projects to tackle, like cooking and figuring out how to get groceries and pondering just exactly what to do with my hair. Can I do therapy wearing a hat? Is that worse than what I am currently seeing in the mirror?

(Beware, major change of topic). So many people have much more pressing and life-altering issues, and the injustice of this virus, the indiscriminate way it has wreaked havoc around the world only serves to highlight income inequality and racial disparities, particularly here in the US. As I consider how I can truly meet my clients in their pain, confusion, anxiety,  and/or depression, I have to remind myself that none of us know the future. None. Of. Us. We can only live in this one moment, inhabit this moment, and the next one, and the next. One step at a time.

I found myself in a state of panic yesterday after catching a glimpse of a reference to The Handmaid’s Tale on social media. I had just also seen the photo of the shutdown protesters pressed against a store window, looking like so many of the Walking Dead. Before I could rein it in, my mind spiraled into a horror show so awful I could hardly catch my breath. “This is how it begins,” I thought. “Can Gilead be far behind? Also, I would be a terrible Aunt and an even worse Martha, so my chances are not good in dystopia (I am far too old to be a handmaid, thank the good lord).”

And that’s when I reached out to my friends for a bit of reality. It helped. What they said was “We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We cannot predict the future, all we can do is make the best and most of this moment. Worrying will not change anything.”

I know they’re right. There are infinite possibilities regarding the future. What I have is right here, right now. Be in the moment. So simple. So difficult.

H is for Honesty. And Humanity.

If I am to be honest right now, I have a heaviness sitting in my chest. I just finished my weekly personal therapy session and while it was great to see my therapist and know that she is healthy and well, there is also a sadness that I cannot quite describe.

I tried to explain it to her, how it came over me yesterday when I ventured out into the world for the first time in over a week. I had to go get a prescription refilled and pick up an order at the local cidery (yep, part of my self-care). I was at a normally vibrant and bustling intersection, waiting for the light to change noticing how very still it was there. The car dealerships that populate that particular junction were mostly shuttered, and hundreds of brand-new cars were lined up in the lots with nary a buyer in sight.  

The scene felt apocalyptic. I can’t think of a better word, and a deep grief welled up inside of me and I thought “What if this is it? What if we never get back to normal? What if these cars just sit here into perpetuity, unsold, un-driven, rusting into the next millennium?” I wanted to put my head down on the steering wheel and just sob. Finally.

But I didn’t. I allowed the wave of hopelessness wash over me, and then I pushed it away. I had to get home and start seeing clients. I didn’t know what I would able to bring to my sessions, if I allowed myself to break down in that moment, to realize the anxiety and fear I had been carrying as I’ve been soldiering on through this pandemic/lockdown/quarantine.

The anxiety would not go away, though. As the clock raced toward my first session, the more distressed I felt. So, I texted my therapist friends and my own therapist for advice. To a person, they all said the same thing: “Of course you are feeling anxious. We are too. We are human. The best thing you can do for your clients is show up as fully present and just be with them in these strange times.” I asked my therapist specifically if she felt anxious before sessions. Her answer in the affirmative was the most helpful of all. Her honesty, her humanity, shone through in that moment.

And I realized that is what I wanted to bring to my sessions, more intentionally than ever before: honesty and humanity. I cannot sit here and pretend that I’m skipping through this pandemic, successfully using all of my coping skills and shedding the anxiety like so much water off a duck’s back. I feel it. I carry it. I cope as best I can. That is what I have to offer, my humanity.

As we struggle through this strange new normal, I can offer moments of grace, acceptance, and honesty.