The Covid Chronicles

So I tested positive for the Vid! 3rd wave definitely came in with a bang. Made me feel a little less invincible, which is humbling I suppose. Incredibly grateful for my body’s ability to manage the symptoms and keep it under control.

I actually wanted to use this post to run through some of the thoughts that I had while I was recovering. Can I also just say that I’ve been having peculiar dreams over the past few weeks, that I’m still desperately trying to make sense of. Anyway, back to the Covid Chronicles.

God bless the antibodies.

COVID-19 antibodies last as long as 8 months
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Contact

The first thing that triggered the whole situation for me was getting into direct contact with someone who tested positive. Grateful that they called me to tell me about it. I was still very convinced that I had escaped getting infected. I eat a lot of naartjies and apples, btw.

Coronavirus: The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard joins ...
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Symptoms

A few days after that call, I started feeling sluggish and a little under the weather. There was no doubt at that point that it was probably Covid. Yet, my inflated ego somehow managed to find a way to believe that it wasn’t. To be fair though, it was relatively mild; just a sore throat and fatigue.

After a few more days of that intense fatigue, I decided it was time to get tested (3 days after experiencing symptoms).

Getting tested

So I try to get myself booked for a Covid test, but because of how wild 3rd wave is in Joburg, most centres are pumping. I had to wait till the next day. Woke up fresh and early on a Sunday morning and got myself geared up for a Covid test. Up the nose and away we went.

Why Use Tests - Dilbert Comic Strip on 2020-05-30 : dilbert

Got home, took a nap, and eagerly watched Verstappen and Red Bull thrash Mercedes at the French Grand Prix.

Results

Because of the fatigue, I’ve been taking naps at random times throughout the day. On that Sunday, after going for a snooze at 6 pm, I ended up waking up at like 11 pm. It was quite disorienting, but I decided to watch some Peaky Blinders. 1 episode in, and I get an sms from the labs – Covid hypothesis confirmed; I was positive.

Quickly stocked up on Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc and Panado – oh and ofc more apples and naartjies. Managed to get some Ivermectin as well, which may or may not have helped.

10 days later

The tragic thing is that during this period, I also infected my flatmate, who is vaccinated. Tbh, it definitely made me question how effective those injections are. Thanks capitalism.

Took off from work and basically spent the day: sleeping, eating, watching Netflix, watching Euros, reading books – repeat. Sounds like a dream, but it got boring rather quickly.

An interesting coincidence was the fact that I had a dream of a friend of mine who I hadn’t spoken to since like 2017. When I reached out to her, it turned out that she had Covid too! So we bonded (virtually) over the whole struggle to recover. I think she had a lot worse than I did, but it was still relatable content.

Ordered some plants to keep me company

A week after testing positive, I started feeling a lot better. The only thing that was really lingering was the fatigue. Could definitely get used to the lifestyle of taking 3 naps a day. One thing I’m incredibly grateful for is not losing my sense of smell or taste.

Did you know that 80% of our taste comes from smelling?

Now that we’ve fought this bundle of protein, I’m hoping the antibodies will keep me sorted for the rest of the year. Thankful to everyone who supported me in this swift recovery. I’m also here if anyone who is infected needs some virtual help.

There’s a lot that I’ve reflected on over this experience and I’ll dive deeper into that in the next blog post. I wish you all the best and try to stay safe! This too shall pass.

Wave After Wave

It almost felt like things were starting to get normal again. A few months ago, we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But just as we started getting comfortable and complacent, the fear of another wave started creeping in.

Life is like the ocean. The tide oscillates between high and low. Waves come crashing in at different speeds, heights and strengths. We have no control over that. What we can do is learn how to surf through the challenges.

Today’s post won’t be focused on Covid or the beach. I’m sure you read enough about that already. I’d like to talk about how things generally get worse before they get better, expecting the unexpected, noticing our behaviours and reflecting on the shortness of life.

Things get worse before they get better

In hindsight, we always tend to appreciate the struggle. Amidst the chaos, however, there is a very different feel to the pressure. What I’ve noticed in most of the challenging experiences that I’ve encountered, is that it generally gets worse before it starts getting better. This is not always true and I am speaking from limited experience, but it’s just an observed trend.

The insights I gained from this is that when things start hitting the fan and you feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to lose hope and want to give up. What we don’t realize though is that our growth and greatest strengths tend to arise soon after overcoming the struggle.

If things were always easy and we behaved complacently, we wouldn’t need to push past our limiting beliefs. So, when things start looking gloomy and difficult again, embrace it! It firstly means that there will be a moment of relief eventually. Secondly, it means that we will be forced to grow and push past our comfort zone.

This is how we can equip ourselves with a rigorous growth mindset and an impeccable ability to be resilient.

Expect the unexpected

This should be standard procedure by now. We should no longer expect a smooth sailing the whole way through. It’s about looking at all that is unpredictable and almost expecting it. Sure, you cannot expect everything. But if you start thinking about the worst-case scenario and how you would potentially overcome that, it makes it less shocking when things do get pretty bad.

You’d need to be in a fairly healthy state of mind to be able to do this exercise. It’s not about being pessimistic and holding onto negative thoughts. It’s about finding ways to be proactive. Here are some examples of questions you can ponder over:

  • If you lost your job, how would you react?
  • If you became terminally ill, what would you do differently?
  • If you lost certain loved ones, how would that affect you?
  • If Covid only gets worse, what do you need to do from now to adapt?
Thomas Jefferson Quote: “If you want something you have ...

The flipside to this is to also give thought to optimistic ‘what ifs’. Don’t limit yourself and don’t hold yourself back. I won’t write down bullet points on that, but it’s essentially thinking along the lines of ‘What if I achieved that goal?’, ‘What if I won that prize?’, ‘What if I could start that business?’ etc.

Your mind is a supercomputer. Don’t undermine it. The more you work it out, the stronger it gets. The more data you feed it, the better it become at analysing. Let’s look at what drives our behaviour then.

What drives our behaviours?

Intentions, intentions, intentions. Why do I keep coming back to intentions? Because what I’m realizing more and more, is that when you have the right intentions (and behave accordingly), it makes a difference. We don’t necessarily have to get it perfectly right or think like angels, but at least just think about your intentions before you do anything.

It substantially changes your ability to make sound decisions. The thing about waves is that your intention is what helps you push forward. It’s what keeps you dedicated to the purpose. The intention to do good in the world. To try your best. To keep learning. To help other people. To be as kind as you possibly can. To make an impact.

Remember your intentions, assumptions, beliefs and values. It will all affect your behaviour and how you show up in the world.

What drives our behaviour at work?
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The shortness of life

Again and again and again, we need to ponder over our death. If we look at the world around us, it’s just absolutely chaos sometimes. That’s the cycle of life. We will pass on in order for others to carry on living. Nature has a remarkable way of operating, thanks to God.

I’d like to leave you again with the concept of how short-lived we are. The reason I constantly emphasize this is because it can also drive our behaviours. We should strive to be more grateful, more appreciative, kinder to those around us, and shower people with love and compassion.

We should try to give everything we do our best shot. Why? Because why not? When you reach the end of your life, you’re more likely to regret the chances you never took (definitely can’t say that I’m speaking from experience, haha). Stop trying so hard to satisfy your ego and live in a little bubble. It’s not going to burn the fire inside of you.

The Shortness of Life quote by Seneca

Try out something new. Go on an epic adventure. Speak to strangers more often. Plan that party or event. Live more fully and in alignment with your values. It’s not about being reckless or out of boundaries, it’s about making the most of the time you have left.

Wave after wave, we get better at surfing.

Surfing and Posture - The Surfing AccountantThe Surfing ...
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A Pandemic of Loneliness

How do you deal with being lonely? Perhaps you’re addicted to something, like I discussed a couple of weeks ago. It’s definitely easier to find distractions than it is to sit with our thoughts. The social distancing certainly seems to be causing emotional distancing.

I recently read a headline that said we’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness. I figured it would be quite important to bring the topic up, considering how difficult this can often be to navigate. Why is human connection so important and why are we struggling with it?

We have more people on the planet than ever before, yet we feel more disconnected (despite how virtually connected we are) than ever as well. Let’s unwrap what causes us to feel lonely, how social media affects our ability to connect, the power of vulnerability and ways to move forward.

PS: Being comfortable alone and feeling lonely are completely different things.

What causes loneliness?

The definition of loneliness is essentially the emotional state when we feel or perceive ourselves to be isolated from other people. It can be painful, stressful and induce symptoms of depression.

Here are some possible causes of loneliness that I found incredibly insightful:

  • Emotional isolation (EQ)
  • Intellectual isolation (IQ)
  • Affluence (how wealthy you are)
  • Living situation
  • Social anxiety

I’ve obtained the list above from the link below. Feel free to refer to it for more information.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25481/unexpected-causes-of-loneliness-what-to-do-about-them.html

So the interesting thing that I’ve gathered is that there are certain aspects of our nature that incline us towards being on our own. Our emotional intelligence enables us to gain awareness, but it also means we are likely to stop surrounding ourselves with people who we’ve connected to through a common brokenness. The quote below describes it incredibly well.

“The more you heal, the less you’ll connect with people with whom you once shared a common level of woundedness.”

People who are incredibly intelligent in a specific way (a high IQ for example), may find it difficult to spend time with less intelligent people. There is often a demand for stimulating conversations and that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Another interesting factor is your affluence / how much wealth you have. It can be intimidating and there can be misconceptions that people think you’re arrogant or better than them. This is also an isolating factor. Your living situation and neighbourhood can also play a role in your inability to connect with people and socialize. Lastly, a prominent factor can be social anxiety or fearing rejection. These cause us to overthink and can discourage us from seeking genuine human connection. Let’s see how social media plays a role in all this.

The impact of social media

I’ve already debated how social media affects our daily lives; both from a positive and negative lens. This time, I’d like to relate it back to how it impacts our loneliness. The problem with being able to zoom into people’s lives so regularly, is that it creates a sense of FOMO.

The feeling occurs subconsciously. You see other people enjoying themselves, going out, seemingly having the time of their life; while you’re at home, alone, bored, staring at your phone in your underwear. This obviously creates a certain yearning. We also crave to be out and about, having coffee with mates or going on adventures.

When we’re alone with our thoughts and don’t have specific Friday night plans, we often distract ourselves on social media. We just need to be aware of the impact that has on our psyche and the way it may negatively affect us; inducing a certain sense of loneliness.

The solution (in my opinion) is to reach out to people instead of watching what they’re doing. Send messages to those you haven’t spoken to in a while. Start conversations with people you find interesting. Make a plan to group video call your friends.

It’s okay to feel a little needy sometimes. It’s okay to want to connect. It’s okay to reach out. It’s okay to be vulnerable.

The power of vulnerability

The concept of vulnerability ties into our inherent fear of rejection. We often think that showing our true colours to people will result in them rejecting us for who we really are. This may in fact have been proved to us when we were younger.

The truth of the matter is, when we’re willing to share our feelings, emotions and thoughts with people, despite how outrageous they may seem, it can result in a more genuine form of connection.

We tend to think that we’re all extremely different. However, we ultimately share a similar array of emotions. We’ve all been hurt, lonely, excited, nervous, stressed, shy, scared and joyful. If we focus more on how similar we truly are, it allows us to share those experiences with others.

Do you want to know why vulnerability is effective? Because it allows us to establish trust. The expectation is that you’ll be speaking to me about aspects of your life that you wouldn’t want me to take advantage of, mock, share with others, or disregard. Once I see how much you can trust me with your thoughts, it allows me to feel comfortable enough to share my experiences with you. This enhances empathy, genuine human connection and makes us feel less isolated. The more we can relate to others and be vulnerable, the less likely we are to feel lonely.

How to deal with the feeling of loneliness

What should we do about feelings lonely then? It’s easy to start watching TV, scroll social media or just read something to keep our minds occupied. But that’s not dealing with the actual feeling, it’s just pushing it further back in the closet. What we need is acceptance.

Arguably the most difficult aspect of all; learning how to accept our feelings for what they truly are. When we accept how we feel, it’s a way of making peace with our mind and the world around us. Acceptance means that we don’t resist what comes up. We don’t force away what’s yearning to be heard. We don’t distract ourselves from the truth. Only once we accept, can we then take action and move forward. It also means that we don’t judge ourselves. We are only short-lived human beings after all.

After acceptance, we can start to work on improving that internal condition. We can write about it, reach out to people, speak our minds, lean into our hearts and share vulnerabilities. We can find activities that fulfil us. Serve others more. Be kinder. Be more caring, patient and loving to the world.

The more you give, the more you get. Start demanding less, and start giving more. And when it comes to receiving, don’t deny yourself that either.

Rumi Quote: “You have to keep breaking your heart until it ...

Don’t allow social distancing to create emotional distancing. If you’re reading this rn, please know that you’re not alone. You are loved. You are cared for. You are worth it. Reach out to me if you need to. Reach out to other people you haven’t to in a while. It’s going to be okay. You got this.