Surviving a Pandemic: More Food, Wine & Amazon Prime

It’s 5 o’clock MST here in Denver, CO and for the sixth or seventh day in a row, I have been fighting extreme nausea all day.  The kind where you are afraid you are going to have to excuse yourself in the middle of a counseling session to go hurl in the restroom kind of nausea.  A deep and intense discomfort in my belly has been brewing for days and has caused an uproar to all my internal and external systems.  I can’t eat, I am anxious, sweating non-stop, unsettled, and wildly uncomfortable.  I am drinking too much wine to try and make all the symptoms go away.

It is 2020 – the ultimate WTF year.  The year that put all perceived challenging years prior in perspective.  Just a bit ago, COVID-19 hit the scene and the world took a pause to brace themselves for what would throw our lives upside down in every possible way.  Watching the news on the hour to hear updates and learn new information, while watching the toll of lives lost and those affected by the pandemic increasing completely exacerbated my anxiety tenfold.

To make matters worse, my go-to coping strategies during the toughest times are to start to take on the entire world’s problems, attempt desperately to regain control- which shows up as perfectionism, performing, and irritability, and to numb out by eating too much, drinking too much, and spending too much.  In doing so, my anxiety and self-loathing goes next level.  I find myself saying yes to all the things, trying to adjust to the new normal with ungodly high standards on myself, just to overextend myself, feel resentful, and end up crashed on the bathroom floor telling myself what a complete and total failure I am. Then more food, wine, and Amazon Prime.  I am in a vicious cycle just trying to survive.

Yes, I am a therapist. 

I know better, I really do try every single day.  I am always a work in progress and willing to do the hard work. Yet, during times like these in 2020, I can no longer hold it all together and exist the same way I have been.  

It was in my darkest hour, hugging the toilet petrified and unbearably uncomfortable, where I heard the whisper, “You have a job to do.”

“What do you mean I have a job to do?  I do all the fucking jobs.  Just living is one big job.  Someone else needs to do the job.”  

As much as I want to avoid the whisper at all costs, I have a deep inner knowing that if I don’t listen, figure out what the job is and break out of this self-destructive cycle, I simply will not survive the pandemic.  

There just has to be a better way to navigate such madness.

Per usual, it was in a still moment that “my job” came to me.  

I have to find a way to fully discover and recover me. 

For me, and perhaps so many of you, the pandemic has become a pressure cooker for change.  In the midst of chaos, the parts of me that are ready to be acknowledged, healed, and aligned are quickly emerging to the surface.  I have a new energy around discovering all parts of myself while removing the things that no longer serve me- such as becoming more mindful and courageously evaluating my relationship with alcohol.  Spiritual alignment and discovering my superpowers are supporting me mentally and emotionally so much.

I am documenting my journey and am working to turn my story into a guide to help others navigate the uncertainty, loss of control, and complete shit show that is this existential crisis we are living in.  I want to inspire and empower individuals to use this great split in time to step forward, emerge, and break down the barriers that have held them down for so long.  To discover their light, live in it, and lead the way for others to do the same.  And finally, to see this crazy hard time as a spiritual assignment that transforms all of us in such meaningful ways, ultimately paving way for the feminine to rise.

This work matters right now…

Across the globe, no one is exempt from this unthinkable pressure cooker we are stuck living in.  The pandemic, along with the racial justice movement, has such enormous energies emerging individually and collectively, and it is having an unprecedented impact on our mental health. 

When humans face danger, especially of this magnitude, they subconsciously enter a trauma response.  With no control over the matter and no real security in what is happening, our nervous systems are in overdrive.  Being in a trauma response, we act in either a fight, flight, freeze, or shut all the way down mode. Typically, this has us acting out of character and shows us parts of ourselves that need attention.  Being triggered in these uncertain times, we are finding ourselves reverting back to old patterns.  Maybe you were in the recovery of an eating disorder, and then the pandemic hit, and now it is the one way you can feel a sense of control.  Or, maybe your drinking was no longer a concern but now you find yourself drinking 1-2 bottles of wine a night just to shut out all the noise.  Maybe your credit card is maxed and you keep getting shipments you don’t even remember purchasing. Or, you’re working sixty-five hour work weeks again. Or, sexting that abusive ex-boyfriend.

This can either be a time when we repeat destructive patterns or an opportunity to do the inner work to break free and level the F up.

I invite you to witness my journey and to take any tidbit that may be helpful for you. 

May you be loved, healthy, and well during these wild times.

Take care of yourselves and therefore each other,  

Brooke XO 

See Brooke’s latest vlog, Leaders: See the Light in YOU and Your Team! for organizational leaders. Or, schedule a free consult with Brooke Jean Counseling and Coaching today!

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