Emotional roller coasters

After my cry of despair last Monday, I have experienced a week of emotional roller coasters. My cry was heard, and I am very grateful for the support I have received, the concerned calls, and especially the support of my flatmate the same night. I was at such a low point that I was afraid of myself, and I didn't know how to get out of this state of despair.

Tuesday I was still pretty low, and I was crying a lot. In the morning I went to the river to sit by the water, look at the water and cry. I sat there for at least an hour, crying a lot. I haven't cried so much since my previous breakdown almost four years ago. My body hurt from so much crying. In the afternoon I managed to calm down a bit, but I am still feeling sad and a lack of energy.

The next day, Wednesday, I was a little better. In the morning I still couldn't concentrate on anything, but I had a goal: to get out of confinement to visit a friend. At noon I got my bike down on the street and mounted the bike to go to another neighborhood in Seville - half an hour by bike. It was a bit surreal to ride my bike through the streets of Seville and be afraid of running into a police checkpoint. At the same time I felt very free, a freedom that I only feel when I ride my bike, or in actions of disobedience. In this case, it was both sensations at the same time.

I arrived at my friend's house, and we hugged. We talked. We drank (too much). We ate. We laughed. And we hugged again when I had to say goodbye. Another 30 minutes on the bike to get back to my house. This time I was less afraid, because the worst thing that could happen was a fine - they couldn't stop me from getting to my friend's house anymore. I didn't care about a fine, but I didn't have any problems. I felt very good. I felt free. Like a human being. Almost euphoric. At home we kept drinking with my flatmates, and I went to bed at midnight pretty drunk.

The next day I was in a better mood, and I built some shelves in my room (I had ordered the wood on the internet a few weeks before). However, I also felt the anxiety rising again. In the afternoon I had a session with my psychologist, and we went over the events that led to my collapse on Monday. It was hard, and I left quite agitated from the session, but not necessarily feeling bad. Sad. With some anxiety.

On Friday, for the first time in a week, I tried to work in the morning, and I responded to some outstanding work emails. However, I couldn't concentrate enough for my real job: programming in PHP for a Drupal project. I went to do some shopping after two hours, and in the second shop, waiting outside the shop for my turn to come in, I almost started crying again. I felt terrible. The rest of the day I continued with a lot of anxiety, sometimes on the verge of crying. I talked on the phone with a lot of friends - I probably spent at least three hours on the phone that day. During the first call, still in the morning, for a few moments I was barely able to say anything, struggling with myself not to cry.

Yesterday I felt a little better, with a lower level of anxiety. In the afternoon I managed for the first time since more than a week to take a book and read. I also made some decisions, recognising that I need to stay away from everything related to the Coronavirus: not to read the news (I haven't read a single line of news for at least three days, and in any case I don't listen to the radio and don't have a TV), to stay away from all the debates and activist tasks related to the current health crisis and how to respond, even when the crisis is over. For a week now I have not participated in anything, unable to do so, and I feel that to try again would return me to my anxiety, to my old trauma. Getting sick leave, as I have not worked for a week now.

Today I feel a little more anxious. I still don't know how I'm going to handle this day.

While this situation lasts, I have to take it day by day. Maybe I can work a few hours a day, or two, but I need to take off this pressure. It's hard too, as I work in a small co-op with a friend/colleague, and if I can't work it means that all the responsibility falls on her. I'm lucky that she supports me too, but there are also limits. I am also lucky that we work with clients who see us as human beings, and not as machines that have to function. I understand that this is a privilege.

Beyond that, I support myself with small acts of disobedience, putting my mental health on top of the Decree of the State of Alarm. I wonder if in this Scientific Committee that elaborates the recommendations on confinement there are psychologists, women, trans*/queer people, representatives of the elderly, of children/adolescents. I doubt it. It seems that the only thing that matters is (male!) experts on epidemics and the economy. There is no holistic perspective on health, and above all, mental health is completely ignored.

Normal life no longer exists and we will never return to the normality of before, in any case of crisis, social crisis, climate emergency, male violence, queer and transphobia. While the confinement lasts, I will assess my needs within the health crisis and I will not blindly obey an authoritarian decree that denies me my mental health.

I'm afraid we're going to come out of this crisis very traumatised. We, who have entered this crisis already traumatised, are experiencing it worse. We can survive by assuming our agency, our decisions, valuing our needs and at the same time assuming our responsibility in the health crisis. They, the government, do not. They have forgotten us. We have to do it ourselves, by being disobedient. Disobedient because of our mental health. Disobedient, but not irresponsible.