It's been more than a year since my country, Philippines, had implemented community quarantine. There are varying stages of quarantine here, Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). CONFUSING, RIGHT? Don't worry, most of us don't know the difference either, but one thing's for sure, we need to stay at home. We are not allowed to go out except for necessities and if we do go out, we need to follow the safety protocols in place.
This could come off as a whiny post but I think I wanted to let people know the struggles of being an extrovert and not being able to go out, talk to people and just feel the sun shining on my skin. I guess it's a struggle many of us are not even aware of, and worst some people doesn't even acknowledge it.
To give you a background, I am one of the most extrovert person I know. Even way before high school, our classes was 7AM to 3PM. I usually leave our house as early as 6AM and go home normally around 6PM or sometimes, around 8PM-9PM. In college, I'd rather stay at someone else's house or in the mall rather than go home. Even now that I'm working, in the pre-pandemic times, I stay in the office so that I can have dinner with my colleagues. And I always say to my managers to send me out in fieldworks and fly me anywhere, so most of the time I am either in the client's premises and staying in different hotels for weeks and sometimes, even months.
It's not that I hate it at home because even when I am home, I usually bug people around. I'd go to my mom and just poke her or like talk to her. I'd go to my sisters and just annoy them. HAHAHAHA. I have a great relationship at home, it's just that being with lots of people rises my energy. I think I'm also the most "kaladkarin friend" in our circle. A kaladkarin friend is the one who usually say yes to any plans someone has. I remember so many times where my friends would text me and be like "Dinner?" and after 30 minutes I'm at the meeting place. That's how extremely extrovert I am.
Initially, when the quarantine began, I was relieved because I can finally sleep and rest, more importantly I can do the stuffs I've been wanting to try! I did sewing, make up, and calligraphy. I finished all of the books in my to read list, watched all the movies and series I missed during board exam review. I even learned to cook some dishes like tteokbokki, shawarma, gimbap and some I don't even remember. I also started working out and exercising, all was going to well until problems started to arise.
During these times, both of my parents doesn't have a job, so basically I am the one supporting my family. In the first few months, it was bearable until I became overwhelmed with everything. Then, covid-19 claimed a family member, my favorite aunt, it was so sudden. Alongside the grief and sadness of losing a family member, financial expenses were also coming.
I'm the type of person to just easily find solutions to everything, I am a very hopeful person too, I guess? I usually just need a few moments to breathe and when I come back, I can pretty much conquer the world. But during this quarantine, it seems harder to face and solve any problems. That's when all of this unwanted feeling started to bubble up.
I started feeling trapped and wanting to go out even more. I felt suffocated being surrounded by the four walls of our house. It's getting harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. I started missing and calling my friends, most times, I am crying to them. I wish that solved anything but it got worse, I started having panic attacks frequently. I remember being locked up in my room and just crying because I just can't bear it anymore. I remember even filing a sick leave because of my mental health issues, I literally have to hear myself breathing because I feel like sometimes I forget to breathe. I started being picky with foods too, it's harder and harder to eat food without feeling nauseated.
Some might say that I am just being an ungrateful, whiny b****. Like, I get them, I have a stable job, I'm at the comfort of my home and the only thing I am concerned of is going out while some people risk their lives just to earn money to be able to provide for their family. And no matter how many times I wanted to get rid of this feeling, I just can't. It's not that I wanted to feel this. I told you, I'm a very positive person but during this pandemic and to make it worse, lockdown. I just really can't pull myself up, I kept spiraling into this trapped and suffocated feeling.
Then, our company started this initiative where they provide free consultation with a psychologist, which I'm really grateful for. But first, I hesitated in going, no one even knew I booked an appointment, because most people think I'm a strong person and would never ever need one. I booked secretly and had a few sessions which really helped me a lot in understanding things.
Fortunately, I don't need any medical intervention yet. I was just having a hard time and along with other reasons, one of the most evident reason of feeling all of this is I can't cope up with things. Before, when I am having a hard time, I usually go out alone in the mall, visit some thrift shops, eat anything I want, go to department stores or even just bug of some friends. I was stripped off of all my coping mechanisms and nothing could give me dopamine anymore and it was a constant battle from that point on.
I started slowly by taking walks outside with our dogs and my siblings, eating outside even though it's quite dangerous. I even made the dumbest decision of having a massage even though it's close contact and might even result in me having Covid-19. I also said yes to every field work available just to get out and just feel released. Then I drained myself out and it just feels empty again.
I also started journaling and writing. As you can see, I was a user 9 months ago but I was just recently active. I am just trying this out as a coping mechanism and I don't know if it will work or if it's working. I am still on the process of building yet another set of coping mechanism and I don't know if something can ever replace my old coping mechanisms.
This had been long but writing and reading it again made me realize how much I have grown over the past year and how much more I am to grow. I am still struggling, still visiting a psychiatrist and still having a few panic attacks here and then, but I can now understand myself better. I also learned to be patient with myself, regarding healing and coping and to remind myself that it's okay to feel unwanted things.
So for all of you who are struggling, we don't ever know if it will get better, honestly. but I am just here to say to you that what you feel is perfectly fine. That making yourself suffer will not make the world suffer less. Don't invalidate what you feel just because you have a privilege that other people doesn't have. It's really okay to feel things we don't want to feel.
I hope this helps you more than it helped me.
See you around! 🌤
Lead image: Photo by Yasmina H on Unsplash
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the difference in personality types is really overwhelming XD and the difference in coping mechanisms but you're finding an alternate crowd and that's good for you UwU