Reset button: it takes a virus to shut me down

No, not the famous virus. A virus. A strong one no doubt. After 24 hours completely out, unable to think, write, work, read or much more, I finish the night watching the amazing Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix. I feel like buying her album (which I never did before) and my brain hums “Only the Young”. She never shuts down. Her brain is always on. I wonder if it also takes a virus to shut her down.

A stop

I am not here to compare myself to Taylor Swift. I could not even start pointing out the differences. I would be here all day. I am here to appease my brain. It (or shall I say she) just woke up after a day out. Let’s face it, I even played Smurfs today, which had not happened in 2 years, since my last strong illness that took me out for a week. I felt there was very little I could process as I drifted in and out of a small fever and shifted between sitting or lying in bed. This is as out as it gets for me. Not sitting and thinking of a million things. Not processing through all the ideas I want to work on. Not multi-tasking but just being through the 3 hours I waited for the NHS 111 to ultimately hang up on me (yes, really). As the day wears on me I tear up – is this what it takes for me to stop?

A failed goal (so far)

My goal #1 for this year was health (it still is). Being healthier, feeling fitter, be illness or pain free for 90 days was my first big milestone. It is a bit of a joke really. After 2 months fighting back pain in my back, I fall ill 3 days after I finally bring myself to Pilates class again. And just in the middle of a crazy coronavirus outbreak, just in time to bring my immune system down, alongside everyone else in the house. 3 months into the year, I am failing miserably.

Seriously, where did I go wrong? I improved the sleep, I improved the nutrition, I was even willing to improve the sports despite the pain. But it feels my brain is commanding my body (as it does for most people). And my mind is not very healthy. It takes constant self-care but never a real reset. So today, I got one. And it feels sad. It feels sad that is the only way I will give myself a full reset. Unplugged.

An isolated stop

Part of the ability to actually reset is to have no choice. As fever rose and we did not know what this could be, I quarantined myself into the room, we got anti-bacterial wipes and hand gel, and put a mattress for Hubby B in the kids room. We established a 2 meter rule. I only go upstairs to get food or put my dishes under hot burning water before anyone touches them. I teach Baby S how to do a virtual squeezy hug. He gets so nervous he puts his finger in his mouth. Why is Mummy in bed? We repeat and make it cheerful, he gets there. Little Girl C teaches me a high-5 sequence with 14 different steps that I have no chance of memorizing but try very hard. She looks so proud doing it.

Clearly, the only way a mother can get space to just be and recover is under severe circumstances. Maybe I am generalizing. But a mother like me for sure. A mother that wants to do more every day, a mother that struggles to feel she is enough, a mother that really does not stop, even during sleep. By the end of the day I was better, but I was lonely. I missed their hug.

I am hitting reset

Tomorrow, I expect a more normal life to resume. As fears of corona disappear (for now) and I get less contagious, I will inevitably be drawn to do more. Also, as my brain starts functioning, I will login and go back to a world of plunging markets and contingency plans. I will go back to filling my free time with charity rather than playing Smurfs, with reading rather than watching Netflix. But I wonder if I will miss it. I admit I feel some nostalgia of this ability to feel no need of doing anything. I wonder if one day I will just hit reset, but not be bed-bound. Maybe that should be my goal for 2020.

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