I guess the Universe has decided it’s time for me to face all of my fears one after the other, in quick succession.

Two weeks of non stop, exhausting work bringing me close to burn out, only to find that none of it meant anything at all? Check.

Having a fight with my boyfriend where he had to choose between his relationship with me and keeping his parents happy, which triggered my previous, very terrible, encounter with abusive parents? Check.

Having to face my parent who I thought I was finally escaping after being traumatised by their actions? Check.

Wondering if I’m pregnant and waiting for my period to start, while experiencing my worst premenstrual depression? Check.

Testing positive for covid-19 while living all alone in a city which I’ve just begun to understand? Check.

The Universe, ladies, gentleman and non-binaries, seems to have a funny sense of humour when it’s been regarding me the past few weeks, and I’m not sure I get humour in the cosmic joke that is my life. I’ve had at the most a day before the next fuck-up begins, with barely any time to get my wits together and get over that which has previously passed. And somehow, the stakes kept rising until — until I woke up at 3 am, fever of 100.6° F, and rising.

Two days of terrible fever, and four days of exhaustion later, I am tired of this shit. I am so, so fucking tired. I am tired of being unable to think about what to eat next. I am tired of being unable to clean the house or do my laundry because it means staying upright, which is something that has become so exhausting now. I am tired, most of all, of this disease, and I am tired of people telling me to ask them for help whenever I want it, because their help will not reach fast enough for me to be able to rely on them. Instead, I have to help myself through the shit I’m going through during the time I have to wait for them, and by the time help arrives, either I would’ve helped myself, or it will be too late. But yes, thank you for offering.

Staying alone while having covid is quite nuts, actually. I kept all my medicines, my thermometer and 5 litres of water by my bedside, and would wait for the fever and the body pain to drop before being able to get out of bed long enough to be able to cook. And that’s all I could do – cook something basic, lie down, eat it, lie down again. Get up again to maybe wash the dishes, and then lie down because the exhaustion didn’t quite go away, and now the fever is climbing and soon, I’m going to be delirious.

And no, I don’t want you to tell me how brave I am and how proud of me you are, although some people do genuinely mean that. At 2:45 am, as I sat on my bed with my temperature increased yet again, my head splitting because of the most infernal headache, having had to take medicine that kept me from vomiting so that I could eat some food and take some paracetamol, I wanted to whine and cry about how shit it all was. I didn’t want to reassure another person about how I’d take care of myself while being alone — I wanted to be selfish, and terrify others with how much pain I was in. I wanted them to panic, as they thought about what to do if my temperature rose, and threatened to cross 104°F. During the worst of it, I wanted someone to worry and think for me, think about how they’d take me to the hospital, what they’d need to pack in a bag for me, how much it would cost, and whether I’d be better or not, because during the worst of it, I could not think.

I could not think. I could not concentrate long enough to put together two halves of a sentence to make sense. All I could feel was the heat radiating from my feet, almost like I’d got rockets attached to my soles, along with the nuclear power generator that runs the rockets. I was hot, it was dark and I really fucking wished someone was there with me.

But, thank God nobody was there. Sounds confusing? I understand. But, let me explain why.

Thank God nobody was there to catch the disease from me, and resent me for passing it onto them. Thank God I was alone in this house, without having the fear of disturbing anyone else with having to get up at 2 am to eat a banana and take my paracetamol. Thank God no one was there to coo over me and fill me with self pity, because that was the last thing I needed. And thank God, because after these excruciating days in Hell’s pits, I’m finally out of it.

It was bad. But it got better. And albeit a bit subdued and strangely tired, I have another week of being alone in my safe space, which I intend to enjoy to the fullest.

The Universe has been no stranger when it comes to throwing the most awful shit at me, but somehow, it has all come at a time when I was capable of handling it by myself. If I had to handle catching covid any earlier, I would’ve caught variants much more virulent than omicron, and while omicron was terrible, it isn’t as virulent as delta or the original coronavirus.

(Quick note: there is a difference between infectious, i.e., a pathogen’s ability to cause infection, and virulence, i.e., the intensity of disease caused by a pathogen. Yay immunology courses!)

And having dealt with a constant stream of people not meeting my expectations of friendship or break my trust in them these past couple of years, my partner’s goof-up (it was just a mistake, regardless of how I try to see it) couldn’t have come at a better time, at a time when I was no longer plagued by the sadness of mentally checking out of a lot of relationships, and after conclusively dealing with my own doubts about my relationship with my partner.

There was a silver lining to all of this, and while it was, pardon my French, a really shitty time, it did show me my capacity to handle adversity. It showed me that I didn’t turn into a baby requiring assistance when I fell ill. It showed me that I was still carrying baggage from past relationships that I had to acknowledge and let go of. It made me realise the importance of repair in a relationship, whereas past relationships had me focusing only on the rupture part. It made me realise that my partner, as wonderful a human being as he is, is still human, and as all humans, can make mistakes and be forgiven for them.

Like the popular saying goes, adversity introduces us to ourselves. And that is what this cosmic joke being played on me turned out to be – a reintroduction of me to my strength, my tenacity, my ability to hold on even as I complain about and hate on everything happening to me at that time. And it reminds me of something depression-era me used to say and believe in, which I’ll leave you with –

Things do get better. There is light at the end of the tunnel, even when you can’t see it. Just take one step after the other, one deep breath after the other, and before you know it, you’re through the worst of the storm.

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