As the months are now rolling into a year of caution with COVID still lingering about, so many are feeling stifled—and forced to stay inside. For some, they’ve not seen family for months on end. Some of us have lost loved ones to this virus.
What never ceases to amaze me is the difference four hours from my home of permanent residence compared to my getaway home regarding the coronavirus behavior. I live in South Florida and from my perspective it seems people are abiding to the rules keeping the social distance of six feet, wearing a mask and washing hands regularly.
For many months businesses were closed, including my husband’s restaurant with a mandatory cease-to-operate for over six months because of COVID-19, as did many non-essential businesses.
These were and still are trying times.
Many businesses closed permanently. Yet when I drive across from the east side of Florida to the west side, I feel the shift instantly. I don’t see the masks and businesses operating at fifty percent, nor do I see the social distancing.
It makes you wonder if you are imagining this thing lurking out there—but of course when your loved ones and good friends are dying you know it is no joke and that it’s no time to be foolish.
So off I went to the west coast of Florida to “air out” for a few days only to find everywhere I went there were few if any people wearing masks and none wearing rubber gloves (gloves stopped in my area too!). It was as if this was all make-believe in South Florida—and of course it’s not, but you can’t help but wonder what all the fuss is about on one end versus another.
Perhaps you have a split of social distance, mask wearers where you live as well. How is that affecting you? How are you coping? I’m finding many of the patients I work with are feeling more anxious and using food, drugs, and alcohol to cope. Some are getting very involved in the day trading online.
Maybe you’ve chosen to not wear masks and go about your life, which sounds like a slice of heaven, but the other part of my mind says, What if someone’s grandma or grandpa gets this thing because I was only thinking about myself?
I know this happened to someone I see who decided it wasn’t real and passed the virus on to their elder mom who is still in the hospital fighting for every breath.
It seems strange to even be writing this now three weeks into February in the year of 2021 when back in late February 2020—one year ago I was at this very getaway home with my three siblings and we vaguely talked about this virus that was out there.
We had a glorious sister’s weekend only weeks before the virus pounced on us and changed our lives, forever.
It’s no secret I work with eating disorder population, addictions, along with depression and anxiety—and at this point many of my patients are struggling with their emotions not to mention their food addictions and/or eating disorders.
Some are dipping into foods they’d not eaten in years while others are going to the store two and three times a day hoarding food for fear they won’t get it and still others are turning to restriction.
Tension is at an all-time high. Nearly everyone I know has close friends who have a relative that’s taken their lives because of the pressure of what’s going to happen financially and/or medically.
And several of my patients have lost a loved one or know someone who lost a loved one. My Facebook friends post their losses and some I knew and know—one of which was my boss at the local drugstore when I was eighteen years old. Or my beautiful sponsor for over seven years during the height of my eating disorder recently passed. I see every time I scroll through my Facebook feed someone who no longer is with us.
Are you dipping into your addiction? Do you find your mood is sinking low? Or maybe you are feeling wired and anxious. If so, you are not alone. This is tough time for many. Just about every patient I see knows of someone who died from the virus, and everyone I know knows several people who had the virus.
So no matter who is pretending or avoiding, this thing still lurks out there in some capacity, and for sure it’s not going away from our memory. This will forever stay etched in our minds, especially when you think about the next round of holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, summer vacations, flying to your favorite in state or out-of-state place.
Once again, we’ll stop in our tracks and realize, “wait a minute, can I go or do or partake?” Maybe yes, probably no. We already passed through Easter, Passover and other religious holidays without our family—will we continue through another summer activities? I booked and unbooked several flights to Chicago and Wisconsin over the past year, uncertain if it’s a go, or not.
And then the anxiousness perks back to attention. And maybe you think of eating this or drinking that or smoking this or vaping that to numb out or calm you down—just this once.
You are not alone—many want to jump into escape but take it from a food addict in recovery if you jump into your addiction, you’ll only find you now have the original worry and now created another problem that’s not worth it. Instead, go for a walk, jump in the pool or lake or ocean, plant flowers, write in your journal, take a bike ride… anything but eat, drink, snort or whatever your vice is. It’s not worth it….
Are you feeling stifled? Do you wish you could jump on a plane and go anywhere? What about your kids, or grandkids, are you missing the gatherings? How are you coping? Is it working for you?
To learn more on recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, and aging please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.