Vault of joy

I didn’t recognize myself anymore, which was a truth I felt ashamed about. There wasn’t a day I could count on my body like before my Covid infection. I was most worried about the changes in my brain; trouble remembering what I had read, responding in the way I was used to, and even filling in a form had become a disaster.

I got lost in conversations, unable to listen and remember to respond appropriately. Creative, as always, I found a way to bypass my word-finding problems in Dutch, and I started to do almost everything in English. Looking up words in my second language was casual until I got good enough that the same frustrating problem occurred again. With my trained gratitude, appreciation took over! My English improved, meaning my brain and learning ability still functioned. Hard work started to pay off despite my frustrations during endless repetitions with brain fog and a lack of concentration. I managed to give my brain positive growth input by practicing several things to grow new brain connections; learning a foreign language is one of them.

With my improved English, I stepped into my discomfort of losing the person I was before. From the sad and lonely place I was in, I learned to embrace loneliness. Which I still find one of the most unexpected, yet valuable lessons I’ve learned in this process. It made me more independent in finding my way in my healing process where doctors couldn’t help me, and even let me down.

In my search for answers, I started to make new meaningful connections online, I even met a few. These connections give me a feeling of belonging and rediscovered pieces of myself. With a renewed vision, I now see this journey as a gift with endless opportunities to make contacts worldwide with people with similar values and goals, traveling with me into a new future.

I changed my name to Daphne in Stockings, writing a blog and making poems. I felt I couldn’t handle the load pressuring my shoulders. Torn ankles, a third leg thrombosis, PTS, Covid-19 twice, a troubled relationship, being in a Labor Dispute, doctors relating the dispute to childhood trauma, and not being believed didn’t make it easier on me.
I decided I needed a sort of alter-ego stronger than I was, and it gave me peace of mind imagining shifting weight to another person. Mesmerized by everything that happened to me, I didn’t allow myself to be happy and started hiding in plain sight. Knowing now that unusual, increased stress reactions are a fluctuating part of my Long Covid as well. I learned to let go when I am not up to it on bad days and postpone them to my better and good moments.

Step by step, I learned to take better care of myself and to put myself first. During one of Jay Shetty’s workshops, he said: “You cannot give to anyone else what you cannot give to yourself first.” I realized I had so little to give, yet I kept the smallest part to myself. I started to put my basic daily needs first, and during my ‘body in bed” and “but in the chair” times, when I’m not sleeping, I do what I started to love most—creating and writing.

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