Feeling Anxious and Foolish

Tomorrow I am going back to the office for the first time since mid-March. I told my boss I would come to the office twice this week, something I am now regretting.

Last week I felt confident that I could begin my transition back to the office. I acted on that feeling because if I didn’t, I would never go back. I had promised my boss I would come back a few days a week after she let me stay home for longer than she originally intended me to.

I feel foolish for being so anxious about going back. I will see maybe five people at most and be sitting alone in the basement where my desk has sat vacant.

So what is there to fear, if I won’t be having conversations with my coworkers because of social distancing? What am I so afraid of, if I will be alone in a basement like I am alone at home most days?

The only thing I can think of is the fear of leaving the comfort and safety of my home. My house has always been my safe haven where I can be myself. I can wear my pajamas, eat all the snacks I want and have my pets by my side. At the office, I don’t have any of those things.

Even before COVID and quarantining, I had trouble leaving home. Something I never ever thought I would struggle with! I had to push myself to put on my shoes and get out the door. So COVID happening has only made it more challenging.

In my previous post, I wrote about having an anxiety emergency kit to help me cope. Looking at it now, I feel like nothing could help my anxiety. That it will swallow me whole.

I try to tell myself that it’s not a big deal. I’ve been working in an office full-time for years so I can do it again. Right?

The difficult part about mental illness is that it doesn’t always respond to reason. Sometimes my depression or anxiety can be quelled with reason and facts but this time it’s not cutting it.

Maybe I will get there and I will be fine even though I’ll be shaking all morning during my drive to the office.

This isn’t the biggest challenge of my life but it sure as hell feels like it in this moment.

How are you coping in this climate? Have you had to make any big changes recently? If so, how did you cope?

Being an “Essential” Worker

I work at a non-profit that focuses on helping people who are HIV positive as well as doing prevention outreach and testing for HIV and STIs in-house. Since we are a charity that focuses on the health and wellbeing of people with compromised immune systems, we are essential.

Reflecting upon the phrase “essential worker,” I am clumped in with healthcare workers, pharmacists, scientists, grocery store staff, those in food service, etc. I don’t feel like my duties come even close to the level of importance of those groups jobs during this crisis.

I do fucking social media and marketing. My coworkers are the ones who are actually making a difference. They are delivering food to clients, checking in to make sure that they are doing alright and all these other wonderful things.

In my eyes, I am the farthest thing from an essential employee.

The only thing I feel like I have contributed is spreading the word about our mail order condoms program. It’s pretty awesome! Anybody can email us or fill out a form on our website to have a box of condoms shifted to their door.

My coworker told me that her inbox has been blowing up since my press release has ran in a few newspapers and online news sites. That made me feel good. Beyond that I feel like I’m the farthest thing from an essential employee.

Have you been working over the last month or so? If so, are you able to work from home or are you going to your place of employment? If you can’t work, are you getting by alright?