I thought for a long time that the pandemic had ruined me. Despite being one of the lucky ones and not being greatly affected by it outside the obvious, I have never felt the same since. The pins and needles I feel in my brain has gone into overdrive and I feel constantly burnt out.
I’ve recognised this, and for quite a while I have been trying to get back to the way I was before the pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, the 18 or so months suffering its wrath did not ruin me, but I just don’t feel myself anymore. I don’t think I am alone in this, but it is more obvious because during the lockdowns I weirdly managed to shine. Dealing with a crisis suits me well, and remaining calm and collected under pressure is fairly easy. Unfortunately, the adrenaline and focus have now gone, replaced by emptiness and a sense of being lost.
In the little over 9 months the UK spent really struggling to get things under control, I became the fittest and healthiest I have been for years. The fact we were all at home together meant I had time and space outside of working to really exercise. I discovered my love of cycling on empty roads, and despite my waking hours seemingly being separated by the hours I drank coffee and those I consume beer, I thrived.
My spiral down began two weeks before Christmas 2021 when I had my COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. It knocked me off my feet for weeks. So much so, my heart and lungs have never been the same since. I am still exhausted when doing small things, but I can still run a little, providing I break through an invisible barrier and manage to keep going. I have no idea what is up with me, and no doctor will listen to what I need to fix. As such my mental health has suffered dramatically, being able to exercise is one of my only enjoyments in life.
I am trying really hard to get back to where I was, but being nearly 40 I feel like my body is fighting me at every step. I yearn to be back to where I was in what feels like the blink of an eye ago, but that dream always seems out of sight. No matter the effort I put in, no matter the dedication I have, I just can’t reach the proverbial carrot on a stick. In many ways, I am mourning the loss of myself, but I will not accept the me I am now. There was to be a return to normal somewhere down the line, and it best be soon.