Sometime around the beginning of June, I felt a deep fog take root and envelope me. I began to feel like I was suffocating. Nothing felt right or familiar to me and I thought I would just snap out of it after a few days. Now it’s two months later, and that fog only seems to grow thicker and more encumbering by the day. I often feel like I’m trying to fight my way out of a plastic bag. I know there is light and presence outside of the plastic bag, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t break free from it. This struggle leaves me feeling anxious, tired and frustrated because I have known the crisp clarity of being present and aware prior to being enveloped by the hazy plastic bag, but now it’s out of my reach. I think I’m finally starting to realize I am stuck in the bag and I’m not breaking free anytime soon.
Resistance to this state of being isn’t working for me, so I need to try a new tactic. What if I admit I’m stuck - stuck at home, stuck in my head, stuck in my country, stuck with this moment in history and stuck with myself? What if I stop resisting and embrace the stuck feeling? I don’t know what that will look like or feel like, but it seems to be the course of action I need to consider to keep my peace of mind during this time of great uncertainty. I can struggle all I want to change my situation, but the truth is much of my being stuck is out of my control. I learned during my breakdown that giving up control made me feel like I had some control and it appears I need to learn this lesson once again.
When I take account of all of the physical ways I’ve been stuck over the past five months, it seems logical that I am feeling confined and anxious. At various times over the last few months my house has been transformed into a much smaller version of the world and all of the places that I used to inhabit. It’s been much more than just a home, it’s also been my office, a gym, a school, a therapist’s office, a restaurant, a hair salon, a music studio and a workshop. No one’s been invited into my home during that time. We are all facing this confinement in different ways and I doubt that I’m the only one that feels stuck.
There’s also a heavy amount of denial at play, I believe. I’ve yet to account for all of the losses resulting from the pandemic. It’s not just the loss of going places, it’s also about the loss of the common occurrences that accompany those excursions: the lost conversations, sights I may have seen, people I may have met, songs I may have heard, or glimpses of the natural world I may have seen enroute to my destination. I also find myself becoming numb to the loss of life as the numbers grow each day. All of the losses mount daily and I can’t help but think that they’re what lies beneath the surface of my feeling stuck.
Maybe acknowledging all of these losses, which are so numerous, is the first step in getting myself unstuck. That feels true to me. Until now I’ve shrugged them off, left them in a pile out of my sight not wanting to deal with them. In the beginning of quarantine I felt the losses acutely, but once the losses became so commonplace, I stopped feeling them and even seeing them as losses. At some point there needs to be a reckoning for all that’s been lost. If grief and feeling stuck are related, then it feels acceptable to be stuck and I’ll try to sit with it as we must do with grief and let it have it’s way with me so I can come out of the fog and into clarity and presence.