20 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not


Dear Diary,

The last time I wrote to you, I was in the 5th grade. I believe we discussed my disappointment in the durability of the press-on nails I’d purchased from the grocery store with my best friend, Tracy. If Facebook and Twitter had been a thing back then, I would’ve BLOWN UP THEIR FEEDS with complaints about how they DO NOT HOLD UP to digging gopher holes by hand in Tracy’s backyard. Total rip-off. I want my $1.49 back.

I suppose that event was so traumatic, I abandoned my relationship with you. What can I say? Extreme disappointment causes us to do strange things. 

I’ve decided, though, in light of the Cancelation of Planet Earth due to COVID-19, it’s time to renew our relationship. There are simply Too Many Thoughts racing through my brain these days, and I’m not able to corral them to my satisfaction. I need a way to pull them apart and put them into bite sized pieces so I can figure out what the eff I’m dealing with here. So you’re up to bat, Diary! 

Since we spoke last, in 1983, I moved to SE Asia, moved back to America, got a Bachelor’s Degree in Church History (hahahahaha! that was useful!), married, put my marriage in the crapper, adopted and birthed 100 children (or 5 — CLOSE ENOUGH to 100, tho), pulled the marriage back out, and learned I have chronic, clinical depression I get to manage for the rest of my life. So, pretty much all fun and games. WHEEEEE! 

Now we’re in a global pandemic, and our family is sheltering in place. We’re not being ordered to yet. We’re being told to “self-isolate” here in Oregon — or self-quarantine if we’ve been exposed. But we’re not going out for reasons other than grocery and pharmacy runs or a brief walk along the rural path behind our house because we really, really EXTRA don’t want to be the cause of folks dying. The current goal is to slow the spread of the virus so we don’t all overwhelm the hospitals at the same time. Frankly, the projections don’t look good, but you and me, Diary, are going to HOPE ANYWAY. And stay home.

My MAJOR goal in all this is to Keep My Shit Together. NOT to Keep From Freaking Out — oh, there WILL be freak-outs, Diary. That’s just part of what Living in the Unknown means. No; by Keeping My Shit Together, I mean managing my mental illness. Remaining sane. Which in turn means Paying Attention to my mental health and enacting the best Self Care models I can stand. 

That’s where you come in, Diary. You and I are going to track this together. I’m going to tell you on the daily what’s happening so we can gauge what’s going on.

Today’s check in: doing well. I’m mostly upbeat >>>AS LONG AS I DON’T SCROLL ON FACEBOOK TOO LONG<<<. That’s something I’m going to need to watch. I can actually FEEL my mental wellness depleting itself like a battery if I spend more than, oh, an hour on the Book of Faces. As a result, I’ve made myself a schedule LIKE I’M 8 YEARS OLD with strict screen time limits for checking in BUT NOT DWELLING there. I believe to my bones that digital connection is A WONDERFUL THING and suddenly MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER for human interaction. And also, I need to be careful to stay in the positive spaces of the Book, rather than fly down the rabbit holes of What If and Oh No and WHEN WILL THE STORE HAVE TOILET PAPER AGAIN? I’ve never been excellent at moderation, Diary, but I’m gonna try on this one. OK? OK. Deal.

More tomorrow on methods for Staying Sane. In the vein of Not Trying to Do Too Much, I’m just sharing snippets with you at a time so this is sustainable.





P.S. I got in a bar fight today. I tried to snatch a coin purse from a Dwarf who was just letting his money dangle there. Unfortunately, his friends flipped the table while I was underneath it cutting the purse strings. 🤦🏻‍♀️ DO NOT WORRY TOO MUCH, THOUGH: a) I DID get to finish my beer, and b) I got away because a dragon ripped the roof off the pub and everyone was distracted. Close call, though. Need to be more careful while thieving in the future.

P.P.S. Lunchtime Dungeons and Dragons with the children is more enjoyable than I imagined. 

Don’t miss a post. Subscribe here

10 responses to “20 March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not”

  1. I stayed off screens in general yesterday, then my daughter said, “So we have to shelter in place now, right? Starting Monday, right?” and I was right back on them. Sigh.

    If one has never ever in one’s entire life played D&D, could one slip off to the gaming store, buy–something?–learn it and play it with a mere 3 people? Catan is living on our dining room table right now, changing configuration every two days, but we may need something else before this all ends.

  2. Sadly, my cleric, Luna, is sitting in a tavern, bored, while I am in isolation. Our Friday night gaming group is not amused by this whole COVID-19 thing and the social isolation it requires *booo*

  3. I’m sure Diary is glad you are back and misses you the way we do when you don’t write. 🙂 So happy for you to make self care a priority, and find thievery more fun than anticipated!! Nothing but ♥ my friend, and help with sowing seeds of hope.

  4. I’m so excited for daily entries! I love your perspective and humor and most of all that you’re so authentic (and that you talk openly about poop; I think thats an underrated quality in a human). Thank you, Beth!
    I had a talk with myself yesterday about staying off the Book of Faces too because I recognize how too much of it really amps up my anxiety and deepens my depression. I’m supposed to limit my check-ins to 2x/day but I already didn’t do that today. I live alone unless you count the bitey cat and don’t get to work right now since schools are closed… I have decided that this social distancing thing is not an introvert’s dream after all. The more live social interaction I have: phone call or walk with a friend, attempting to stay 6 feet apart, at a park or on a trail, the more I am buffered against the downward spiral of mental health that results from my FB scrolling.

  5. Thank you Beth for dusting off Dear Diary. I am managing my mental illness day by day. My therapist, let’s just call him Dr. Pepper, is going to teleconference my sessions, so I have to either clear away a section of the clutter like an actress takes to the stage or let my messy life dangle in front of him for further dissection. I’m leaning toward messy. I have no words of wisdom for depression other than move over, I’ll sit next to you for awhile. I look forward to more Dear Diary. Be careful thieving at lunch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.