A Hypochondriac in A Pandemic + A Vaginal Update.

Well, hello. Long-time no speak. Since we last spoke, Christmas came and went in a tornado of left-overs and booze. The hashtag #2020 was bringing hope for the new year far and wide. Spring was starting to spring and then the world went into complete and utter meltdown. 

Welcome back to Gash Gossip. I hope if you are reading this that you are still in your pyjama bottoms at 15:08pm, safely tucked up waiting for the storm to be over. I also hope that all your family and friends are doing the same. I say storm, but mother-nature has been giving us a parade of some of her best work outside. The sunshine is continuing to mock me through my isolation window. 

This is scary. Anxiety levels are high. We’re all trying to remain positive and normal, in a completely abnormal situation. We have been thrown into the unknown. People have lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their family members. People are sick and our NHS are trying to save their lives. We have no idea how this is going to pan out from one day to the next. The news is terrifying, Twitter is full to the brim with opinions, and we can’t even go over to our friends with a bottle of vino in hand to try and lift our spirits. There have been tears, moments of community spirit and hilarious self-isolation memes to keep us entertained. All we can really do is keep going, keep safe and stay at home. 

How are you all feeling? Surprisingly, as a self-confessed hypochondriac with severe health anxiety, I haven’t boarded up the windows and doors or run about the streets as if I were in a zombie apocalypse film. I am however ringing my parents every day, much to their enjoyment I’m sure, testing that I can still breathe every morning and don’t go anywhere without my bottle of Zoflora. Overall, I don’t think I’m taking this global pandemic too badly. Nowhere near as bad as I would have done 3 years ago. So, to all of you who are not overthinking every symptom and letting those intrusive thoughts get the better of you – yes babes. You’re smashing it. Hang on in there. 

For those of you that are struggling, don’t get me wrong there has been some feelings of despair as well – I think that is completely natural given the boat we are all trying to stay afloat in. I’ve been overwhelmed by the multitude of the situation. Although I am constantly worried and cabin fever has started to set in, I am feeling sadness more than anything else. I’m sad for us all; for those losing loved ones, for those that are sick, for those that are alone and for life as we knew it.

It’s a hell of a lot to continue to take in.

That being said, if we are at home and well, keeping our minds healthy should be our top priority. Here’s some advice to try and conquer overwhelming moments, intrusive thoughts and alleviate the stress:

  • Routine. I’m not going to tell you to maintain a normal routine because that’s rubbish, nothing about this is normal. Set your own routine which you can change day to day depending on how you feel. If you need an extra hour in bed, take it. I know some of you will be abiding by your working hours, but I’m just sayin’ don’t feel bad that you didn’t wake up at 6am, go for a run and make boiled eggs with avocado for breakfast. If all you’ve managed to do today is shower, that is enough. 
  • Hobbies and creativity. Again, I’m not here to tell you to pick up that hobby you’ve always fancied doing, or start on that play you’ve been thinking about writing. It is completely okay to use this time to switch off creatively if you want to. You might need this time to take stock of the situation, recharge and rest. I personally up until writing this post have only had room in my brain to think about my family and baking banana bread. Who knows, maybe next week I’ll write that bestselling novel but I’m just chillin’ for the time being. 
  • Obviously if you want to paint, create, write, make, learn 3 languages, relearn piano and trumpet – that is amazing. I just think in times like this you shouldn’t feel obliged to do anything but look after yourself.  And if that involves playing Sims in your Christmas pyjamas, do it. 
  • FaceTime, Houseparty and Whatsapp daily. Keep in touch with your nearest and dearest. I bet the whole population is already doing this because let’s face it, we all really miss each other. 
  • Get outside, within the guidelines and social-distancing rules of course. Put the sunshine on your face, sit on the grass or Phoebe run through the park – after all, no one will see you. 
  • Consider deleting social media apps. I have been meaning to delete Twitter and Facebook from my phone, but felt I’d be missing out on something important if I did. I’m really not, guys. It has had a scarily good impact on my mental health, particularly during the Corona crisis. I update myself once a day via the news, but also go a day or two without knowing what’s going on to give my brain a rest. 
  • Laugh. It’s still okay to feel happiness and to smile. 
  • Be kind. To yourself, to your neighbours, to your siblings, to the people serving you in Sainsbury’s. 
  • Baths, podcasts, baking, shaking your booty, sleep spray, essential oils and The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel are all good too.
  • And lastly, moisturise your hands. 

 

There is a constant barrage of sad news, and whilst it is important to take it in and acknowledge it, we need more than ever to be finding those pieces of good news. This should apply to life after the lock-down too. In fact, all the self-care we are doing should follow us into life after COVID-19. Amongst the madness we are learning a lot; how to look after ourselves, each other and that nobody is as crazy as Joe Exotic, The Tiger King. 

Share your personal successes and good news with one another. As this is still a vagina blog, I’ll share some good news about my vagina. My latest smear test results came back, and I have no cell abnormalities! Hooray! This is the first time since March 2018. I’ve still tested positive for HPV, but no pre-cancerous cells in sight has got me feeling great. Gotta’ take the rough with the smooth and celebrate the small things. So, I’m celebrating my cervix, go on my cervix! 

I hope you can all find something to celebrate today, this week or this month. Round up those little positives and share them. The world needs to hear your good news now more than ever. 

I’ll start us off. Here’s some of the good bits we might have missed:

  • Alpacas are visiting care homes to cheer up their residents through the windows. 
  • Pollution levels have fallen. 
  • The canal waters are clearer.
  • Children are making homemade rainbows and sticking them up in their windows for everyone to see. 
  • There are neighbours taking it in turns to cook the rest of the street their evening meal. There are community WhatsApp groups. Pubs have become food banks. Over 500,000 people volunteered to help the NHS.
  • Babies are being born. People are recovering. Doctors are TikToking. 
  • There is always hope. 

 

If you’re poorly, I hope you feel better soon and if someone you know is poorly, I’m sending them virtual, social-distancing acceptable hugs. These are weird times, but change is inevitable. I’m going to do it; I’m going to quote a fish…

Just keep swimmin’.

Soph x 

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