I have been quite vocal in the past about some of the health issues that restrict my paranormal activities. My health history is pretty complicated for a 39-year-old. While I have covered this in a bit more detail in my article 'What its like investigating with a chronic illness', I want to point out I don't bring these issues up to look for sympathy. It is more that I know it can give a person comfort that is going through the same thing. I know for my endometriosis and more recently my hysterectomy saw me heading to Facebook groups for support. It was more just knowing that I wasn't alone and someone else was going through what I was and knew what it was like and how hard it can be. Covid has really flipped the world on its head. I think most of us can all honestly say that none of us has ever lived and experienced something like this on such a worldwide scale ever before. Yes, our ancestors did, but for our modern world, this has been quite a culture shock! For us in Australia and particularly in Melbourne, our lives were put on a collective hold and suddenly we were not allowed to leave the house unless it was to go to work. Even then only certain professions were able to work. While there has been a lot of devastation, the world started to reopen. Unfortunately for us in Australia and particularly in Melbourne, we opened and then closed again for what seemed like an eternity. (Let's not make this about politics and any comments related to it will be deleted). Finally, here in Australia, we are for the second and final time we are opening up again. While this is exciting, for me I am finding it really difficult to get back into things.
For weeks at a time, I didn't leave my house apart from going for a walk. As I don't have a spleen I am considered to be high risk, so even a trip to the supermarket was done by my husband or my family would drop food or supplies at my front door for me. I was safe at home with my kids and my family. While I did miss going out on my investigations, I felt like I had the gift of time on my hands. I spent time reading, writing and researching. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with my husband and my boys. In some ways, I feel like this is the biggest positive to come out of this. We have a much stronger bond and we all enjoyed our time together. But now that is over. Kids are sort of back at school, my husband and I are back to working on site instead of at home and our daily routine has started up again. We don't get to see each other as much and when we do we are tired or have to worry about cleaning, getting dinner ready or washing uniforms ready for the next day. We don't get the quality time we had during isolation as we are back in that daily grind. My Saturday nights will very soon be filled with investigations again. I am really excited for this, but there is a struggle within me.
I suffer from anxiety. Many of us are feeling some sort of level of anxiety at the moment, I mean how can not? I'm not really sleeping a whole lot and I am worried. I always have a bit of a struggle that happens within me before I go on an investigation on a normal day even pre covid. What if I have a pain flare up? What if my thyroid is playing up and feels like I can barely move? What if I get a migraine? What if I can't drive home because I'm in pain? What if I can't enjoy myself? What if I fall and hurt myself and make my issues worse? What if I have a car accident and they don't see my medical bracelet and know I need an urgent dose of anti biodics? These are just some of the thoughts that go through my head that I work myself up with. I am sure you have a bunch that go through your head that is relevant to you.
So I am sure you can relate to where my struggle is at the moment. Home is my bubble and is my safe place. I do believe in mind over matter to an extent and my stressing about things I am sure makes it worse for me at times. Me worrying about having a pain flare-up is likely causing one to happen for example. I have had a lot of surgeries and after each one, I have had to spend around 4-6 weeks at home. I always find it hard at the end of these times to integrate back into the world. A lot of people struggled with not being able to go out during isolation. It honestly didn't bother me all that much because frankly I was used to it. People would ask me how did I cope so well? I am used to being at home. Home is my safe bubble. I have my medication. I have my heat bag. I have my bed. I have my heated blanket. I have my boys. I have my laptop to keep me connected to the world. It allows me to write which obviously is my favourite pastime. This is what gets me through not being able to go out and investigate. Reading and writing about it is the next best thing for me.
So as I prepare to go out for my first investigation, I am excited. I am beyond excited. The anxiety though of course is starting to rear its head. On the way to every single investigation, while I am excited, part of me is not. It is another step back into this normal and my anxiety doesn't like it. Of course I know I will love it once I am there and I am going to really enjoy it and wonder what it was that I was ever worried about. That is the thing about anxiety, you look back and think pfffft but at the time it can be crippling to the point you don't leave the house.
Some of you may be experiencing feelings like this towards investigating when you head back and it may confuse you. It may have you even questioning if you should continue and that maybe you feel like you have fallen out of love with it. Don't confuse this with anxiety. It could just be that you are a little anxious about getting back out there. It doesn't mean that you do not love it. it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. What it does mean though is that we should start being more open and honest about how we are feeling with each other. Many of us literally live and breathe the paranormal. Feeling worried or unmotivated doesn't mean we don't love it. Wishing you had a night at home doesn't mean you don't love it. Questioning why you do what you do doesn't mean you don't love it and should quit. Me sitting here writing about my wanting to stay home on a Saturday night because it is my safe bubble doesn't mean that I don't want to investigate anymore. It is just a part of the anxiety that I live with on a daily basis. Sometimes for me even going to the shopping centre (one of my other favourite hobbies) is something I spend hours trying to talk to myself about doing. I can't tell you how many times in the last couple of weeks I get ready, get dressed do my hair get my shoes on with a plan to do things even if it is to go to the shops and then I just can't get out the door.
As we get back into the swing of things, you may resonate with part or all of what I have written above. Do not be ashamed of anxiety. Talk to your friends. Talk to your fellow investigators. If you tell them, they might be able to work out a way to make it easier for you to get out and do the investigation. It could be as simple as meeting for a coffee beforehand or them offering to pick up and drive you. Little things like that I know make such a big difference to me. Not having to worry about the drive for example is sometimes all I need to be able to make it happen. Acknowledge how you are feeling and try to take the steps to get out there.
Good luck in your return to paranormal investigating and if you take baby steps or a giant leap, make sure you are doing what is right for you. Some will be ready to jump right in while others want to wait. Remember people have different home lives, health conditions and all sorts of things going on. When a person is silent or perhaps not responding to you, reach out and ask if they are OK. Some people take this silence as a person 'ignoring' them. As someone who has been accused of this on many occasions, I can tell you I am never ignoring someone and that there is usually a personal reason behind it. A good friend will take this silence and reach out to see if you are ok. Even a message to say 'hey just checking in to see how you are?' can mean the world. When I was recovering from my hysterectomy a year ago, I had people from the paranormal field I had never met and some I barely knew sending me random messages just asking how I was doing and if I was OK. I cannot tell you how much that small gesture helped me. If you know someone who does suffer from anxiety or is having a rough time, reach out and ask if they are ok. Ask if there is something you can do for them, even if it is dropping off some milk. These things do not go un noticed. We all cope with things differently and while we miss investigating, not all of us can return as easily as others. Some may be forced to wait when they are ready to return now and that too can be equally frustrating when you need your social outlet and you cannot get it.
For me, writing is my outlet and even if I don't get to investigate, you cannot pry the laptop from my hands. It is actually really difficult to publish thoughts as raw as these and I only do so in the hope that it will help someone else. Do not suffer in silence and do not let your anxiety stop you from doing what you love.
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