Fighting Covid-19 emotional triggers

Fighting Covid-19 emotional triggers

I am struggling.

The last three days have been hard to follow up with my daily devotion or do anything really. Usually my devotion involves reading a daily 365 devotional prepared by Heather Love Lindsey. I follow that up with prayer and journalling. On some days prayers are written down as letters to God and on other days I reflect on scripture and what God guides me to write. The last three days have triggered negative emotions; I am either completely scared or numb. Nothing in between.

I have been getting a sense of inadequacy. Like I am not doing enough. Full disclosure, I have dealt with a lot of fear in my life. To combat it I have developed a war like mentality in my head to deal with everything that scares me. To fight fear, I overcompensate and end up doing too much. I waste too much time and mental strength that could otherwise be used productively.  The result is self sabotage and old feelings of self hate creep up on me.

One of the devotions (from the 3 days that I missed) addresses self hate. The first thing I thought was who hates themselves? Surely, I love myself. I said it twice out loud to convince myself. My spirit was like, nope that my friend, is a boldface lie. When we think of self hate we assume it means the extremes of cutting ourselves (too far?) or may be standing in front of the mirror and cussing at the last muffin you ate.

Self-hate triggers self -punishment. My biggest struggle has been picking my lip until I see blood, picking my face (so damn painful), picking my nails sides their shape is altered. When I was younger, I would bite my nails until it was too painful I could  hold a pen.

After high school, I prayed to God to give me the strength to stop cannibalizing my nails. It embarrassed me and I hated myself for it. Sure enough, I stopped biting my nails with a few slip ups when I got nervous. My online research has taught me that nail biting/picking is as a result of anxiety, childhood trauma or self punishing. Bingo! I check all the three.

What negative emotions previously dealt with are triggered by the uncertainty of this pandemic?

When I was in class 5 (4th grade in America), a girl called Mercy told me I had ball gum eyes. What? *insert howling laughter*. I didn’t laugh then. She was disciplined for that by the headmaster. For me, I cried my eyes out. Here is the thing with big, brown and beautiful eyes, when you cry the floods come running down, the red is more visible and their size doubles.

Since then I started to avoid looking at people in the eye. That translated to others as a lack of confidence. It took getting to my 20s when I prayed (I always pray for everything) God to please let me see my eyes they way He created them. I got an opportunity to be in a hair magazine at one point and the photographer told me that I smiled with my eyes and that’s what made me beautiful. Now you can’t tell me nothing about my big, brown and beautiful eyes. For real, they are a pair of diamonds.

As I grow older body insecurities have slowly faded away and it is the inside that I am working on. Before writing this post, I was reflected on summer opportunities I sought out to foot my bills and offset the Fall semester expenses. Thanks to Covid-19 all that is in the air.

Earlier today an email came from school.  There will be no remote work for the summer.  That email triggered self-hate because it felt like everything I had done for financial security is coming undone. The inner critic grabbed a megaphone and screamed failure at me. I gathered mental strength and myself from the toilet seat and took a shower.

Afterwards, I was tempted to binge unhealthy food and be miserable. Good thing, I did not shop for any. Before going out to buy any, I reminded myself that being healthy means that I will have more time on earth to do all the things God has assigned to me. I had two cups of coffee, a litre of water and felt brand new.

I did not pick my nail or bite my lip. Instead, I did a deep cleaning for my house and did the laundry (not folded as at the writing of this piece). My inner silent voice started to speak gently. I reminded myself of how many obstacles I overcame to get here. How many mental battles it took to be in this moment.

The madness brought about by Covid-19 will easily take us to dark places. Allow yourself to sit in it.  Try to remember when life was ‘normal’ and the challenges you thought would be the end of you. Reminisce on how you fought back. Reach out to those you love and love you back. Express how you feel to them. Pray and journal. Grab a fruit. Eat that sukumawiki (kale). Lay under the sun for 15 minutes. Talk a socially distant walk. Hydrate. Fight mentally for you. Fight for the all your post-Covid-19 dreams. Laugh at Museveni’s jokes. Be kind to yourself. Fight any self loathing triggered by the uncertainty of this pandemic. We are in this fight together.

Put on the full amour of God and sanitize your hands.


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