COVID-19 has affected everyone in one way or another. It took our everyday life as we knew it and changed it forever. Being able to go to work and see coworkers, going to restaurants, bars, getting a haircut, going to the doctor, movies to seeing loved ones and family. I don’t think anyone expected that this would cause a lockdown, quarantine or turn our lives upside down. The world went from a place full of people to socialize with to a world of isolation.
When all of this started in March, I was traveling for work and on the road all the time for work. When I found out that all travel was stopping I did not know how to deal with it. I mean I was traveling every week, I used work to avoid dealing with my life in Charlotte. At first it was nice not flying all over the place. Then work slowed down, barely having anything to do each day, other than being chained to my computer.
During the first month of being in my home I started walking a lot to keep me from going crazy. I was averaging 9 miles a day, it felt good to get out. I attempted to learn tennis with a friend. I was fine, it was nice to spend more than two or three nights in my home. But then the second month kicked in and I got a little stir crazy. I had to start dealing with my own life in Charlotte that I was avoiding for a year and a half. A lot of that came from a past relationship that broke me and I had to learn over time how to rebuild myself stronger and better to ensure that never happened again.
After finally being okay with the outcome and realizing how much I was out of town, it set in that my friend group in Charlotte was non existent. I had lived a life of isolation with very little human contact for about year at this point. I did not trust anyone, I did not know how to reconnect with people. I will say I have never really fit in here. I did not come from a family with money, I had a very fucked up childhood, never experiencing crucial events that every child up until the age of 18 should have. I was simply too busy trying to keep my head above water in whatever way I could.
Every human needs human interaction, human touch, intimacy and to feel important. During the last few months I started to process my entire life and started analyzing it. Trying to desperately get to the root of the issue. Why do I struggle so much with friendships, relationships, anxiety, depression and never really connecting with another human on an intimate level? I have always been excellent at putting on a happy face even when I am dying on the inside. A part of this is a survival tool, another part is to try to maybe be someone I am not. I am not sure.
The realization of the world we live in today with a deadly pandemic came at a time I did not expect. A time I needed someone, a time when I needed a hug, someone to hold me, a time when I finally started to realize why I am the way I am, which is not completely my fault. It ultimately came from traumatic events in my childhood that I never wanted to accept or deal with or process. So many people avoid feelings, thoughts they have in their own heads that they never tell anyone. I feel a lot of people are scared of the truth and understanding what happened because sometimes the truth hurts.
When we process things we went thought and start to deal with them sometimes it takes therapy, maybe a psychiatrist and finally forgiving yourself for things you have done that you never wanted to do but had no other choice. I am here to say mental health is a critical part of taking care of yourself, especially during a pandemic that changes life so much that you have to stay in isolation to save lives. I have struggled with mental health for my entire life. I am not ashamed to say that, I feel like if we speak out about issues like this it brings awareness to the topic.
When dealing with these issues we have internally, sometimes we have to remove the people from our life that hurt us can caused us pain the most. It is not an easy thing to feel or process. Sometimes its family, sometimes it friends. Sometimes we can forgive the people that caused this but not everything can be fixed. Once enough damage is done, there is no repairing it.
I have been fighting a battle for 10 years. It’s a battle that started the day I came out and identified as gay. Things over the years have improved but when you reach out, ask to do things, just want equal treatment and over all an honest explanation and a apology and none of the thing have happened you start to realize this is dragging you back into a dark hole that only you can get yourself out of. Sometimes that means ending relationships that you stopped feeling a connection with a long time ago that you never wanted to accept. I knew it was time when I saw the entire picture for the first time. The pieces made sense once I put them all together.
I have never lived my life for me and that was a huge realization during quarantine, I had always done things to make my family who I struggled with happy and proud of me. Once I realized that none of this ever worked, it never changed things, I had to stop this never ending cycle I was miserable in. So I decided to take the first step to recovery, first by contacting a professional who could help me work through all this. Second, ending a job that I did love but that was also stripping my own self worth away with being isolated, no one taking me seriously and ultimately showing myself that I could move up and do things in a professional environment. I had to know I could do it before ending it. I knew if I could achieve that I was not completely broken.
After deciding to take a buyout package, leave a job that paid me well, I decided to take my dreams that were stripped from me when I was younger and take my life back into my own hands from those who took it away from me. So I am returning to college in August. It is terrifying, but I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I needed to follow my dreams and stop lying to people and start being honest about my feelings and what I wanted. I was blinded from this for the last 10 years.
I am scared, I have no idea how I am going to pay everything in my life, I have truly no idea how this will all work out but I am taking a leap of faith and everything is working out so far so I must be doing something right. Now the next most important thing other then working though all of these things is finally finding friends my age, maybe have a relationship, feel real love from another human, have mind-blowing sex for the first time in my life and stop being so caught up and the “what if” and life and just jump in head first and if it does not work out, its okay. I’ll learn from it.
I am taking my life back into my own hands and going to stop living in a life that only brings me hurt and pain and no joy. If anyone can’t understand or see the pain or hurt over the years, I don’t need you in my life. I am not going to stop myself from following my dreams, wants and needs anymore because of what someone will think about it. It’s time to really deal with things and live life for me. Thanks to COVID-19 I am finally able to start the road to recovery.