In A Different World

Life feels strange these days. The world, a different place. It seems we’re all just trying to survive and not really living.

I’ve been trying to keep a semblance of normality in my own life, but it’s not that easy when most things have changed.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m now staying on my own in a bachelor style self-catering flat. My family has officially moved overseas. I’ll be joining them as soon as our borders open up and I can get there. We don’t know how long that is going to take though. They got an expatriation flight which is why they were able to leave. And because I’m not seen as a “dependent” in the eyes of that country, they couldn’t get me to go with them initially. Even though I technically am dependent at this stage of my life, I’m not viewed that way due to my age. In the meantime my dad is supporting me financially from afar. I’m getting some money in here and there from my business, but not enough to be able to support myself. Things are tough all over. We’re living in uncertain and weird times.

Living by myself has been… different. While I enjoy having my own space and not having to answer to anyone, it’s also been challenging. Turns out I’m not that great at adulting the “normal” way. It’s a long story.

South Africa is now in lockdown level 3, and I’m frustrated with the way things are going in this country. The so-called government is a joke. Not only do we have to deal with the virus that’s sweeping around the world, but with incompetent and corrupt fools. Farm murders getting out of hand, and our “president” and everyone else in charge keeps pretending it’s not happening. Government members stealing money that’s supposed to go to those who need it. Making and enforcing nonsensical regulations. Stupid bans that don’t do anything other than causing more problems and anger.

The one I’m having the most difficulty with is the tobacco ban, which has been in place since the lockdown was first announced (March). I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. My e-cigarette helped me give those up more than two years ago. But I still need my nicotine. And stupidly (and incomprehensibly), even the sale of vaping products and nicotine is banned. That hasn’t stopped many people though, and the sale of tobacco products and the like has now become a big underground business. Which means the prices have skyrocketed, and those of us who have been unable to give up on our nicotine fix are struggling, and are criminals in the eyes of the government. They will enforce that ban in any way they can, but completely ignore the real crimes going on in the country. There are no words.

One of my aunts recently passed away (not from the virus), and I had to watch her memorial service over live-stream. A strange experience. Since then I’ve been in my own world for the most part. It’s as if I’m not connecting with the real world. Like I’m walking around in a dream. Moments of “what’s the point of life?” and tons of existential questions. My aunt looked a lot like my grandmother did in her final weeks, and so it’s opened up that old wound as well.

Seeing the people who were at the memorial service, family members I hadn’t seen in years… It was hard. People that I was once close with in some ways. Seeing how much the children have grown (and some are even adults now), how old the rest have gotten. It was just very sad. The sadness is lingering. Time just feels so cruel right now.

I had a dream about my previous therapist and the entire next day was one big “I miss her”. We have a different type of connection now of course. One that that day just didn’t (and if I have to be completely honest, some other times too) feel like enough. I miss seeing her. But that’s life. I guess I’m just having a hard time connecting and with wanting to connect. I want to be alone, but at the same time I’m struggling alone and missing so many people.

This is one of the songs they played at my aunts funeral. I had this version of the song for a while, but now it’s taken on a new meaning for me. I’ll always think of her when I hear it.

Getting Through Challenging Times

This past week has been a difficult one for me. There was another episode with the dad, one that left me feeling terrified and paranoid for days. My body and senses on high alert.

The current state and chaos going on in the country and the world didn’t help with the paranoia. As the lockdown continues and so much uncertainty remains, each week that goes by seems to get more and more challenging. It seems harder to find and hold onto hope and positivity. To keep going strong.

I can’t control what’s happening in the world. In my country. But I can control my actions. And once again I’ve allowed myself to become absorbed in, and consumed by the negativity taking place on social media. I know the effect it has on me, and I also know that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. When I’m already feeling angry and anxious, reading certain posts, the comments, and commenting myself, increases that ten-fold. I should know better, yet I allowed myself to ignore the warnings. That’s on me. And so, yet again, I’m making the decision to step back.

The breakthrough came in, and after, my therapy session. Leaving the house and driving to my appointment filled me with anxiety. The thoughts that I was being watched, followed, and would be pulled over and hurt, felt overwhelming. The thoughts and feelings followed me into my therapists office.

After a while I started feeling more contained. I’m so fortunate and extremely grateful that I get to see my therapist in person and have that safe space to go to each week. It’s been my saving grace so many times. So has she. Therapist has a calming effect on me, and I really needed that this week. She basically reiterated that I need to do what makes me feel contained, safe, and regulated, no matter how “weird” it may seem to myself and others.

So I’ve doubled down on my self-care and using my coping and emotion regulation tools. I’ve let go of all the expectations and pressure I’ve been putting on myself. There’s a time and place for that, and now is not that time. Thankfully the paranoia I’ve been experiencing has slowly faded.

What really helps through all of this is the connection I have (and feel) with my therapist. Physical distancing is hard on all of us, but knowing that there are people who care, even if it’s just one person, goes a long way. I had a lovely dream about my previous therapist, and sent her a message to tell her about it. And as usual, she replied. It’s so nice, and healing, to know that our connection is still there. That she’s still around, still cares, and hasn’t forgotten me.

This is such a challenging time. But we are resilient and can weather the storm. We’ve got this. ❤

A Country In Chaos

People are getting restless.
People are getting bored.
Anger rising more and more each day,
With each abuse of power,
Each senseless regulation,
And corruption growing worse.

The poor are suffering and dying,
Not from the invisible threat,
That’s gripping the world,
But from the lack of governance,
And utter disrespect.

Watch out, the people will rise.
They will come for you,
With no place to hide, no place to run,
You’ll realize, too late,
Just what you’ve done.