Virtual Reality

Day 5 of isolation, and madness is beginning to set in. On Thursday, for a short while I forgot that I don’t speak French. You see, I watched an entire season of a French show on Netflix. When I watch something foreign I always watch with subtitles-I cannot stand it when it’s dubbed. After 10 hours or so of watching, partway into season 2, I looked away from the screen and thought ‘what the bloody hell are they saying?’

Oh yeah. They’re speaking French! And I do not… It’s happened before when I was watching the German series, Dark. Tell me it’s not just me?

Now for a disclaimer: I’m no therapist. But I just wanted to give you my thoughts on some things. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. None of us have ever been in anything like this situation before, so don’t for a second feel like you should be finding or even looking for silver linings, if that’s not something that helps you.

I’m someone who has been dipping in and out of things. I have so many projects I could be getting on with, but when I get into something I momentarily forget what’s going on in the outside world. That’s great, until I suddenly remember and I get a jolt of panic surge through my body. Then I lose all interest in what I was doing, I stare into the distance for an indeterminate amount of time, then later on find something else to do.

At least, that’s during the day. Night time is spent trying, and failing, to get a good sleep. I’m not going to stress over this though. Normally it’s a problem because it’s important for me to be on the ball at work, but I’m not working so it doesn’t matter if I’m zoned out during waking hours.

We’re all just finding our ‘new normal’, and I think beating ourselves up over not being ‘positive enough’ is the last thing we need to be doing. Feelings demand to be felt, and if we bury them, they’ll never go away. The only way out is through.

Over the course of this week, I’ve been terrified, but also happy. On Monday Newton did an audible fart in the forest which was quite possibly the funniest thing in the world ever. I laughed more than was probably necessary at my wonky nipples (I have no idea how to explain in words what that was about or why it was so funny) and I had a silent disco in my room.

I was listening to classic 80’s tracks which are oh so danceable. In this instance I was listening to ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ by the Communards, which I think we can all agree is a belter.

Other things that have helped me are getting dressed every day and, from time to time, putting make up on. This getting ready time is one of my favourite weekday activities, as I put my AirPods in and bust out some choons while I’m at it. Normally it’s to get me gee’d up for work, but in this instance it was a great mood—booster.

Then I spent several hours de-sequining some things for a craft project I meant to start two years ago, whilst watching an interesting series on Netflix about myths and legends.

Today I made Pea’s healthy food for the next month, which is sweet potato, broccoli, pepper, carrot and kale chopped and frozen into ice cube trays. This supplements her every day organic bird pellets and a couple of sunflower seeds or millet as a treat when she comes out to play.

It’s no big thing, but that was my task for the day and it felt good to be able to say ‘I said I was going to do this thing, and I did it’. I then told Pea that if we run out of food she better figure out how to start laying eggs, but I don’t think she was listening.

How long do you reckon it would take her to lay enough for an omelette?

Since I’m lucky enough to have a garden and the sun came out, I went outside to get some fresh air and take a few snaps.

Then came the news from my old consultant that her group is going to be one of the first in the country to start running virtual Image Therapy. Slimming World are going to charge roughly £2.50 per session, but you can attend as many or as few as you like without having to pay back fees. I told my consultant that if there’s space for me in one of her sessions to count me in, and I’ll also join my regular group in theirs. I’m still not paying any more than I would ordinarily, and I get to support more than one consultant.

Plus it would be REALLY NICE to see some different faces!

I’ve been staying on track with my eating not because of any particular willpower, but mainly through being sensible about using up what food I have. By the time I’m able to go out for supplies myself again, I have no idea what will be available. Another disclaimer: THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO PANIC BUY. THERE IS NOOOOOOOO FOOD SHORTAGE. IT IS OUR GREED THAT IS CAUSING THIS SITUATION!

There’s also the fact that I’ve almost completely lost my appetite, and I’m only eating once I feel a bit light-headed, or my tummy rumbles particularly loudly. Then I know it’s time to get some grub.

My only task for the rest of the day is to decide what I’m going to make tomorrow. I have a block of air-drying clay, so I want to decide what I’m doing with it before I open it. I’ll have to work quite quickly to stop it from drying out, so it’s best to be prepared. I’ll update you on that in the next post.

Stay safe, stay home if you can, and don’t buy all the things!

Hayley x

Hotel Vibes

Yesterday day was a worrisome day. On Monday, whilst walking Newton, I had a really itchy nose and sneezed quite a lot. The blossoms are emerging now so I figured it was a spot of hay fever (something I never used to get that seems to get a little bit worse every spring). Then in the evening a sore throat developed.

I gradually felt worse overnight but didn’t have the telltale temperature or persistent cough of coronavirus, yet I still didn’t feel right about returning to work. Thankfully I already had Tuesday night booked off, so I had an extra day to think about it. I did however exile myself to my room in the meantime, to avoid passing anything on to the family.

I spent most of Tuesday, day and night, anxiously and nonsensically scouring the internet for evidence that I conclusively do or do not have coronavirus, therefore allowing me to decide definitively whether I should or should not go to work.

See the problems here? I have a blocked nose, but a stuffy nose is not usually a symptom of covid-19. Depending on which source you read, between 4-6% of people diagnosed will have a stuffy or runny nose. So while I’m roughly 95% sure I don’t have it, the presence of my stuffy nose doesn’t prove that by any means. There’s only one way to be sure, and that’s to get tested. If our NHS staff can’t even get what anyone with half a brain cell would call a VITAL test, well, there won’t be one for the rest of us.

I eventually got to sleep at 5am, but didn’t stay sleeping long because my newly emerged persistent cough kept bloody waking me up. Oh well, at least the decision has now been taken out of my hands. According to NHS 111 online, I must not go to work. These are always the occasions when I’d much rather be at work than at home, but there’s not much to be done about that!

My biggest worry now (apart from passing whatever I have on to the rest of the household) is that if this is just a cold, I’m still able to contract the virus and will have to do isolation all over again at some point. Work might be funny about it, but what else in all good conscience could I do? I’d rather lose my job than unnecessarily put someone else’s life in my hands.

When I made a list last week of fun stuff to do if I ended up being isolated, I hadn’t counted on actually being ill and feeling rotten, so although it’s certainly been a less anxious day I can’t say I’ve done anything productive.

This is now day two of fourteen of only coming out of my room to get food or use the bathroom, so I’d better buck up my ideas and start making use of my time before I get cabin fever!

I’ve been fairly level-headed in the days leading up to now, but one measure I did take (and I’m extremely glad I did) was to get a kettle to keep in my room. That way I don’t have to keep going into the kitchen every time I want a coffee, which is often. As such it’s much like living in a hotel right now. I wonder if I ring my mum for room service she’ll bring me a cooked meal? Hmm, unlikely…

In other news, I no longer have to feel bad about my decision not to return to Slimming World. That’s because yesterday morning it was announced that no-one is – all groups are suspended until further notice.

It seems that the consultants, who are self-employed, are going to get some sort of remuneration from Slimming World. Plus Head Office seem to be working on solutions to keep groups running remotely. I hope they do, for the sake of everyone involved. I know several people whose sole income comes from Slimming World.

I weighed in at home, for once with the approval of my consultant, and lost 4 lbs. My total loss is now 1 stone 7 lbs, which even I am gobsmacked with.

Now I just have to keep it up!

Thanks for reading, and take extra special care.

Hayley x