I’ve spent the last decade feeling pretty sure of myself.
Myself — not necessarily my ideas, or that everything I’d try would work, but sure of me. I earned that self-confidence the hard way: by dealing with terrible situations and picking myself up, and making so many mistakes that I knew I could survive them, even benefit from them.
Even when I wasn’t sure of whether my idea would work or not, I would throw myself into it with the confidence that I’d learn a lot, and do my best, either way.
It was a great place to be.
And I took it for granted.
That was then.
This year, not so much.
Near the end of February, somehow, I caught the coronavirus. And I spent the next 3 months sick as a dog, brain foggy, gasping, in pain, while my software-as-a-service business crashed around me — and I was too sick to stop it.
If this hemorrhaging had happened only to me, I probably would’ve been ok. But it wasn’t just me. It was the whole damn world.
Customers weren’t leaving because of anything I did wrong, but because their own economic prospects dimmed as the initial panic about the pandemic rippled across the globe.
That’s something I could not fix or change, even if I could lift a finger to try. Which I couldn’t.
I haven’t felt so helpless, for so long, in a long, long time.
The enormity of it broke me.
(And the coronavirus itself altered my mental state, which made everything much worse.)
And as this was going down, so was the sale of our old house back in PA — which was fraught and dramatic, and extremely difficult to manage from 2,500 miles away, and also urgent and necessary due to the change in our income.
What little energy I had left, I poured into trying to help others. A few days of work wasn’t going to reverse the course of an entire industry, for me, but it might save someone else.
I couldn’t catch a break
Finally, in June, I started to recover. The fever left. My oxygen levels climbed. I began to pick myself up and do things again. I’ve learned from the pain of overdoing it so I began slowly, with organizing my workspace and setting things up for success.
But the hits just wouldn’t stop coming: I had just one or two good weeks before shit hit the fan. I had multi-month crisis trying to get thyroid meds I wasn’t allergic to (you know, just a thing I require to live, no big), I also become very anemic, and then I had a serious allergic reaction to the iron infusion, then a short course of prednisone which screwed me up so bad I could barely sit up for nearly 8 weeks straight. I was dizzy even in a recliner. Simple physical activity (like walking up the stairs) triggered emotional meltdowns.
I wasn’t sick, as such, but I was definitely Not OK.
It felt like my body, rather than being disabled by invading illness or circumstance, had actively turned against me. The call was coming from inside the house.
My overall sense of helplessness turned into outright panic. I couldn’t deal with the decision of whether to return a pair of sneakers, much less what to do about my business. My body was screaming at me to stop. So I did. It’s not like I had any choice.
Thankfully, finally — now, in the end of October, after endless doctors appointments and trials and MRIs and reckless experimentation and days spent flat on my back doing absolutely nothing — I can sit up, walk, and think for at least some part of the day, every day.
I can make decisions and even contemplate the state of my business without utter overwhelm and panic. (Although I haven’t looked at the SaaS revenue yet. It still makes my heart pound.)
And the question is: Now what?
I’ve spent 8 months utterly out of touch with everything because I simply could. not. even. look.
It feels like I’ve been marooned on another planet.
It feels like I can’t even get my hands around what I have to do.
Even if it feels like nothing will work… I will.
I will work.
That’s the littlest flame of confidence burning again.
There's more where that came from
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