I never would have imagined that I would be living during a worldwide pandemic that’s affecting all of us to such an insane extent. It’s new and it’s scary.

Now is the best time to stay in touch with your thoughts & feelings and just gather your bearings. Before all of this began I did try to force myself to continue writing on my blog (private posts) as a way of self-therapy. I’ve only written two posts since then, definitely very few and not as often as I had hoped. Now, with this new and scary outbreak I may or may not continue it just because it does take a huge amount of mental energy for me to break through the mental block and force myself to write about negative feelings and traumatic events. I don’t know that I want to have that right now, when you have way too much time to dwell on the negative and there aren’t as many things to distract yourself or help pick yourself back up. However! I do want to stay in touch with my thoughts and feelings during this very scary and important time. So, I don’t know if I will (at least in the near future) continue “self-therapy” as previously planned for past baggage, but I do know I want to blog with current things in mind at least.

For me, today is day 8 of staying at home. March 16 was my very last day of work. Although all of my bosses (I work at multiple offices) gave me a heads up that they were monitoring the situation and going to keep me updated as soon as possible, all of a sudden, the very next day I no longer had work for an indefinite amount of time. Most of my work is “independent contractor” even though technically I’m more like an employee. However, because taxes are cheaper for the employer, most of optometrists like myself are not W2 employees. Although it’s not a huge problem besides the obvious lack of benefits (health insurance, etc), it really screwed us over during the current pandemic as we cannot file for unemployment. I do not know when I will be able to go back to work. However, I am so grateful I do not have kids or people who depend on me to survive, I do not own a house, etc. Although this will be difficult, I know I have it fairly good and I am so grateful for every bit of it.

Empty parking lot on an early weekday evening

The first time I started feeling the panic/anxiety settling in was when I first set foot inside of a store and saw rows upon rows of empty shelves. Just nothing left. Even things that made no sense were hoarded and out of stock. It’s like people were preparing for an apocalypse. The only food left was frozen gluten-free food (LOL). There were no pads or tampons at all. All of the over-the-counter medicine aisles were wiped out. At the time I wasn’t worried about supplies at home since we didn’t lack anything important. I mainly had wanted to go because I was running low on body wash and my boyfriend wanted to buy supplies for his family so we thought, why not, let’s go to the store.

When it actually came time for me to look for supplies or replenish some food/essentials, it was so difficult to find anything. Fresh produce, meat, ingredients, flour, sugar, etc. All wiped out.

The mob mentality of hoarding crap just got completely out of control, and those of us looking for just a few ingredients or items were completely screwed over. Now that a week has gone by, the shelves in stores are slowly replenishing again. Perhaps all of the hoarders are good now and no longer have to leave their homes, perhaps no one has any more money to purchase new items, perhaps less people are panicking now that they see the U.S. isn’t lacking household items and food…so the stores have time to replenish the decimated shelves.

Tables with caution tape to prevent people from sitting and congregating

What the U.S. (and the rest of the world) is actually lacking, is the safety equipment needed for health care providers to stay safe while caring for those infected with COVID19. I am disappointed to know that so many masks and gloves, etc could be sitting in a citizen’s home while they get to stay safe inside of their own home (going to the grocery store on occasion), instead of being used by health professionals who are literally facing the coronavirus on a daily basis.

Yesterday evening as I went out for take-out food for dinner (take-out is still legal in California, but no more dine-in, and social distancing is encouraged), it felt so surreal driving through the deserted parking lot. It was a late weekday evening, when normally this parking lot would be full of cars.

It also felt surreal seeing all of the caution tape draped over the outdoor tables & chairs in the courtyard.

I (and the rest of the world) am looking forward to when we can slowly gain a bit of normalcy back in our lives.

In the meantime, I will celebrate the day-to-day, simple joys I have in my life in spite of the craziness going on.

My family is doing well (healthy). I’ve had to urge my mom multiple times to stay at home and allow me to do all of the grocery shopping instead. We take walks (separately or together) as daily exercise and a way to break out of feeling cooped in.

I’ve been using my time off to do some serious cleaning in my room! Things I would never have had time or energy for. Your mentality changes when all of a sudden it shifts from “I’d rather do xyz with the free time I have” to “well I have all the time in the world so let me do all of it.” It’s quite a difference. Take a moment to clean things in the home that would be ignored otherwise. Those old dusty blinds I never touch, for example. I’ve begun clearing out and organizing my desktop computer that I ignored for a few years. I organized my closet and sorted out donations. Heck, if cleaning doesn’t make you happy then just binge watch something or indulge in your hobby. There’s always something to do. Our job is to enjoy the time “off” rather than going around being extra selfish and infecting others, especially our vulnerable populations.