So many of us have been ringing in the New Year with omicron. Millions of reported cases and I suspect millions more, unreported.
I will give them this. There are some fun memes born of this variant.
“the CDC says it’s not omicron unless it comes from the Omicrônne region of France, otherwise it’s just sparkling covid”
That said, I filled my glass to the brim with that sparkling covid this past week.
Honestly, I have been resigned to the fact I am not leaving planet Earth without covid having its way with me. It was just a matter of time. And a matter of which variant. The OG covid was alarmingly unknown, mysterious, and lethal in a way we just didn’t understand. Then delta, now omicron, who knows what’s next? But, next is coming.
I made a different decision.
“maybe hopping into the epicenter of New York City in late December was my way of giving covid the finger”
This past holiday season I ‘let it go’. I took the avoid-the-virus-at-all-costs-suit-of-armor I had been wearing for 22 months off. Truly believing in my gut that a) I was one hundred percent getting some form of this virus and b) that I was as fully prepared both physically and mentally to take on whatever it brought. I was done running.
OK, maybe hopping into the epicenter of New York City in late December was my way of giving covid the finger. I did mention I stopped running, yes?
The isolation is real.
Upon my return, of course I had to inform my world of the plague upon my house. (I need to check my Shakespeare at the door here).
My son, who already had covid earlier this year, and is mortally afraid of being benched further at college left tire marks on the driveway from his getaway. Sigh, yet another moment for me (his mom) of missing out on his going to college rituals. Back in August I missed the launch of his college career due to a skydiving accident. The Universe has something up its sleeve with this whole “can’t say a proper goodbye to the kid” routine. So far, I don’t find it amusing.
In another exchange with a dear friend, she texted (and I paraphrase because there were some really juicy expletives that I will leave out): “Darn, you got covid. You were sooooooo (insert juicy expletive here) careful.” To which I retorted: “Yes. Just like with my virginity. And we all know what happened there.”
“My mental anguish and shame, however, took center stage this week.”
Currently I am on day seven of being “positive”. As an aside, they really need to come up with a different word. As someone who sees herself as an eternal optimist, I want MY word back.
Luckily, and for whatever random (not so random) reasons, I am not that unwell. Low level, cold-like symptoms are sharing space with me. Sadly, they are the only ones sharing anything with me right now.
I have been struggling all week with some fairly powerful emotions. Interestingly enough my symptoms, while annoying, have not been bothersome. My mental anguish and shame, however, took center stage this week.
Was I alone?
Much has been written about the shame and guilt many struggle with once they receive a positive diagnosis. Guilt over the “how did we get it?”. Shame that somehow our contracting this virus is a direct reflection of our sense of patriotic duty, or our empathy towards our fellow humans. Add to that the unfolding of the actual virus and its physical toll on the body. How could this ridiculously almost imperceptible “cold” have killed so many? Why am I unaffected?
Guilt, while typically a useful self-correction tool, can become maladaptive for our mental health. How do we keep from assuming an exaggerated sense of responsibility for $h!t that’s out of our control? What happens when bad things happen and there really isn’t any one person to blame?
While my mild physical symptoms dissipate bit by bit each day, it’s the non-visible, come from out of nowhere, self-recrimination shame thoughts that need a vaccine.