Slouched down on my couch, with my feet propped up (roughly 3 weeks ago), I asked my love to grab the thermometer.
When I saw 101.4 temperature, I knew it was Covid.
I got scared, and so did Yvette.
“What are you going to do to protect me?” She demanded to know.
Fever and fear had a firm grip on my brain. I couldn’t think.
Shame rippled through my body, as distant memories of having the cooties left me paralyzed and anxious.
Neither one of us knew what to do. We had both been exposed to the same person at the same time, and I had (unknowingly) been sick for several days.
Thankfully, Yvette was still in good health. And… we wanted to do what we could to keep her healthy.
Confusion led the way to increasing fear, and I ultimately wound up in a pit of despair. The loneliness, combined with significant shame, which was exacerbated by one friend who shared a story about how his brothers family wound up with Covid…
“That’s what they get for going out to restaurants.”
Did he know we had eaten in restaurants?
Mind you, I knew exactly where I had picked up the virus, and it wasn’t a restaurant. But still… shame and fear escalated, as isolation and panic set in.
Emotionally exhausted, unable to rest, taste, and in significant pain, my brain kept telling me…
“Even if you survive this thing, you’ll be scarred for life.”
It was frightening… and, I didn’t know who to reach out to, where to get comfort, or how to take care of my symptoms.
Turns out, my doctor thought I was being watched over by another doctor, and so she never checked in on me. I didn’t know I Could ask for an appointment.
The foods I was eating and the supplements I was taking were harming me more than helping… I just didn’t know. Fear and shame stopped me from reaching out for help.
12 days in, as I lay on the floor of my reading room in a puddle of tears, stomach clenched, feeling nauseated, I finally started texted friends, asking for prayers.
But, even then, I could Not imagine a light at the end of the tunnel… everything just felt black and overwhelming.
I wondered if I’d ever be able to see my friends or in-laws again. Would I even be able to swim again? Will my lungs make a full recovery? How about my stomach?
This isn’t rational thinking — it get it. But, I was Sick and hardly rational.
Yvette tried to comfort me… something she often does through good food, hugs, and laughter.
She was hamstrung… there was little she Could do. I needed to get through this thing.
In that moment, on the floor, with tears flowing down my cheeks, exhausted, in an awful amount of pain in my body, I felt hopeless.
I wanted Out of that experience. And yet, there I was… fully in it.
I wasn’t anymore.
Until I went to the doctor, got the information I needed, and started letting people comfort me… in the ways they could.
Once I gave in, stop resisting, and welcomed this as a part of my journey, a bright light began to emerge, and I felt relief.
Even though I know, logically, that No experience is Forever, sometimes I forget.
In the end, I’m thankful for that experience… it was a Strong teacher in the area of acceptance and impermanence. In hope and despair. In the duality of life. It helped me learn how to tolerate discomfort and be kinder to myself in the process.
Self-kindness is not yet my go-to, but it is stronger in me because of this experience. And, for this, I am thankful for Covid.
What about you? What are your difficulties teaching you?
Here’s To Your Greatness,
Misti Burmeister has been solving people problems and empowering leaders for nearly 20 years, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Help your team reach its highest potential at https://www.MistiBurmeister.com