Show Me the Code
March 30, 2020 – Arlington, Washington
As COVID-19 ravages the world, I’m in the country staying with friends. It’s beautiful up here, calm and serene and I can almost forget what’s going on around me. Two and a half weeks ago I came down with something bad. It started with a sore throat, diarrhea, and a tight feeling in my chest, but the worst part was the fatigue. I’d never felt that bad before, all I wanted to do was lie in bed and sleep. After about a week of that I developed symptoms of a chest cold, with a slight fever of 100.2 and the fatigue worsened. When I called the clinic, a nurse told me to go into urgent care and get tested for coronavirus, so I did that. After listening to my lungs which were normal, they sent me home with the diagnosis of “unknown upper respiratory infection.”
The following day I read on the internet that they’d opened a new, drive-through testing site in Everett. I went online, entered my symptoms, and was told that I qualified to take the test. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Two large tents sat in the middle of a stadium parking lot and the test site was “guarded” on either end by police cars. I passed two checkpoints with my window rolled up, flashed them my ID and my appointment confirmation, then arrived at the testing station. A young woman garbed in long gown and face mask gestured for me to roll down the car window. In her hand she held a device resembling a narrow, elongated Q-tip and I cringed. “It may be a bit uncomfortable”, she told me. “Well, it could actually hurt,” and she wasn’t exaggerating. I had no idea my nasal passages were that lengthy—a burning sensation followed the path of the testing stick until it reached the end of its course. The process was repeated on my other nostril. When my tests came back negative, I breathed a sigh of relief. I wouldn’t want to feel responsible for giving it to others. Whatever it was, it was nastier than anything I’ve had in the past and I’m staying isolated. Don’t want to go through something like that again.
As I watch the virus spread, I still hear skepticism. People want to believe they have control over their fate. They want to think that they can’t get the virus, especially younger people. They are the ones who disobey the stay-at-home-order, the ones who read about deaths in their age group, then say “they must have had some underlying condition,” though it’s not mentioned in the article. The reality is that any of us can contract the virus. Even if our chances of survival are high, we need to isolate for the sake of those who are vulnerable.
As I slowly get my strength back, my cabin fever increases. When you’re stranded at home, it’s easy for fear to creep in as you read horror stories about the virus on the internet. I’ve read that 95% of our daily thoughts are controlled by our subconscious which is why it’s so hard to control those sometimes-irrational fears. They’ve been programmed into us, not only by our life experiences, but also genetically through our ancestors. Fear was a protective mechanism back then—fear of heights, fear of wild animals, fear of water. Our built-in fear of starvation can cause us to binge-eat or hoard food, though I don’t think it excuses the hoarding of toilet paper.
At times it can can be hard to control these fears, no matter how our conscious mind tries to keep them in check. What has helped me most is talking to others. Not only does it keep things in perspective, but it shows me how much I am loved by family and friends. I try to stick to my daily routines, yoga and writing in the morning, salad for lunch, going outside for a walk in the afternoon even when it’s raining. My roommates, who have a strong belief system, are unable to attend church, but every Sunday they tune in online for a virtual church service.
The subconscious is a powerful thing. Many of our behavior patterns were programmed into it between the ages of two and seven when we mirrored the habits and behaviors of our parents. It’s hard to break out of these patterns, but it is possible. In the days after I left Brent, I was plagued by negative thoughts and emotions. His constant criticism and negative behavior had increased feelings of unworthiness that had haunted me for years. I’d heard of positive affirmation healing, so thought I’d give it a try. YouTube is full of these recordings, so I chose one designed to boost self-esteem. For a couple of weeks, I’d lie in bed at night and take a few deep breaths while listening to positive thoughts. My brain would drift into the Theta state, the one that allows access to your subconscious, and I hoped the reprogramming would begin. After just a few minutes, I’d fall asleep, but I let the recording continue. There were differing views as to whether the subconscious could be accessed in Delta (sleep) state, so I thought I’d give it a chance.
After two weeks of reprogramming, I’d had enough. The constant intonations of “you are a valuable human being” and “you are confident within yourself”, were starting to annoy me and I knew it was time to quit. But I honestly felt better, much better. The affirmations, along with an adherence to “no contact” with Brent seemed to have made a difference. The obsessive thoughts about my ex which before had consumed about 70% of my daily thoughts, had plummeted drastically. Now I rarely think about him. Maybe it was the recording, or maybe it would have happened anyway. Either way, I’m feeling good.