WhyTF am I in Survival Mode

Let me step away from design talk into real life honesty talk: Since this pandemic has started, my mind has gone into survival mode. WhyTF am I in survival mode? I have electricity, clean water, financial stability, and have plenty of supplies (let’s be real, toilet paper is the value of gold and we’re fine on our supply.) But I have this constant punch in the gut feeling of anxiety.

When I was a teenager, I grew up in an environment where I was forced into survival mode. My family didn’t have electricity for extended periods of time, and we didn’t have hot water for years. We lived in filth while in a roach infested apartment, and we were EXTREMELY malnourished. We had to ask for food at friends’ houses and from our Grandparents. There were a lot of days where my sister and I gave the last packet of ramen noodles to our two younger brothers to eat and we went without food for days on end.

Current day: I have plenty of food, however, I’m finding myself waiting until the evenings to eat for the first time and it’s ending up being my only meal of the whole day while my family has eaten 3-4 meals and million snacks in between. I’m not drinking enough water and I’m limiting my showers. It’s getting harder to motivate myself to log into Design Project meetings, because I’m already exhausted from overly cleaning our home, helping my children with school work and dealing with constant autoimmune flareups. It’s not like me to behave like this, but these behaviors started happening after everything shut down.

As I’m waiting for access to see a therapist, my friend, Kyley, reach out after hearing my social media story about how I feel ridiculous. She said “It’s not ridiculous. You’re feeling triggered because you have trauma and this is stirring it up! Scarcity, isolation, unknown, being helpless. Those are things you went through and your brain remembers having to survive… You’re NOT crazy or doing anything to provoke it, and there isn’t much (if anything) you can do to prevent it. The body keeps the score.” Damn. I needed to hear this. As depressing as it kinda sounds, it’s refreshing in a way to I hear that I can’t control my survival instincts. I need to cut myself a break. I need to take a break. Not too long, but long enough to recover. I need to focus on making my mental health a priority. We all do.

I’m really bad at sugar coating things, so forgive me if you were looking for a sweet or happy post. Sometimes we need to hear the reality of life so we can heal, and eventually post future happy things. The COVID-19 Pandemic sucks, and it’s ok to feel that way.