Recovery means accepting that one has fallen. One cannot recover if one does not admit to having fallen to something. It has been months since I last blogged about my fall from a horse in January. ( I recovered from that pretty well, I am proud to say. Even though at the time, I feared I might have permanent damage. That was a fear of limitation.)
Falling is part of life. When we move forward we take a step and then fall into it and then take another. “That’s how we can be walking and falling at the same time.” (As Laurie Anderson sang in her song “History is a pile of Debris, history is an angel being blown backwards, into the future.”). While we are on the subject of profound lyrics, I must also mention the song Woodstock by Joni Mitchell who said; “Maybe its the time of year.. and maybe it’s the time of man… I don’t know who I am, but life is for learning…We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
Fears and doubts often get in the way of admitting to things. Fears and doubts keep one stuck. One has to let go and be in flow. Being in flow means being brave and trusting. Trusting the horse, trusting the universe even if one has very little to go on. Even if there is very little security. We are moving into new territory. We are experiencing the collapse of an old system and the sickness of an environment that has been abused by our species for far too long. We are experiencing the consequences of that now. It should be no surprise. We knew it was coming. The fall of mankind is a stage of growth and transformation. However it calls for acceptance and grieving and then healing. (As dear Sinead O’Conner sang in her rap song about Ireland and abuse. “In order for their to be healing, there needs to be remembering and then grieving”)
We have had it easy, we have expectations of comfort zones and happiness and now things are getting tough. It’s not an easy time. Acknowledging this helps with the general depression. There is a pandemic called Depression, which is superseding the virus. It’s also making us weaker and more vulnerable to illness and recovery. Depression undermines the will to live. It makes everything slower and heavier. Having Covid does the same. So both depression and Covid at the same time can cause one to feel like one is wading through mud. Then there is the stress of not making enough to survive due to not being productive. It’s a vicious cycle. Stress and anxiety cause insomnia and these all cause more depression.
The best we can do is acknowledge and be present to this as we witness it. It helps to be present and witness this earth crisis by making a statement that helps you to acknowledge your pain and be fully present with it instead of trying to escape and numb oneself. I watched an interesting talk on youtube by deep ecologist and author Joanna Macy. She spoke of a moment of realization she had when she attended an exhibition about Climate Change at a museum. It caused her to have a crisis of grief for the planet. She saw how acknowledging this grief actually helped shift things. This is the method of the 12 Step program in addiction too. One has to learn to feel one’s feelings and stop numbing them. We have to start taking responsibility for ourselves and stop blaming others. The government, the Chinese, the Russians, The Americans, Donald, Bill, Humphrey… one’s husband, one’s mother. The dog, whoever. One has to step up and take responsibility and show up and chose to live one’s life and do what one can to save the future.
The exercize is to complete this sentence: Take a moment and think about it:
“As I watch the collapse of a civilization as we have known it, my heart breaks for…”
As a mother of teens, I would complete the sentence with…
my heart breaks for the children.
I feel for the children- the teenagers and younger, who are angry and depressed because they have had so many normal lifestyle growing up experiences robbed from them, and are dealing with a lot of disappointment and uncertainty. They are angry about all the wrongs of history that have lead to this point.
All the things that are wrong with society, which have been expressed on social media over lockdown in the past year. Things like racism, gender bias, political injustice, rich and poor being so unequal, especially in South Africa. They are angry with the middle-aged generation for not understanding them. On top of this and because of this they are also overwhelmed by the social media feedback loop, which leads to an addiction to false validation and perceived love through “Likes” on a screen instead of real life interactions. Everything has become virtual and removed, even school. Even birthdays on Zoom, even funerals on Zoom.
Disappointment comes from expectations. Expectations may come from projections. Disapointment comes from trying and failing to meet the projections of what one is supposed to be in order to be liked and acceptable. Sometimes these projections- like body image expectations such as barbie doll figures are impossible to meet. Our children are all having to face the breaking these delusions and illusions by pushing back at them. These illusions are falling away. It’s very confusing for the younger generations as very few of them have any guidance on how to cope with it. It just makes them want to rebel.
This generation of teens are the warriors, they are the generation who will lead the transcendence from the old world of separation to the new world of integration. (Many have decided to identify with this transcendence by identifying as non-binary- but that is another story for another day.)
It must be tough being a child in this time, trapped at home with their families instead of going out to play with their friends. When they do get to go to school, it’s behind masks never really know what each others true facial expressions are.
Many younger children have been deprived of essential tactile experience of the real world – not being allowed to play on the jungle gym for fear of germs, not being allowed to play with clay – or shared musical instruments at school. All the fun things have been taken away, separating them from nature. This could have a very negative effect on a generation, unless they are allowed time to play in the sand.
For years we have known that there was going to be a crisis by 2020. There have been global meetings about it. Climate crisis committees and Paris Agreements and COP conferences around the world every 5 years. The scientists and biologists warned us of this inconvenient truth for ages. Covid may not look like Global Warming, but it is a symptom of a planet out of balance. I believe that the microcosm is a reflection of the macro. Covid is a disease that affects multiple organs, but one obvious symptom of Covid is difficulty breathing. The planet has had difficulty breathing due to air pollution- a result of fossil fuel consumption. In Chi Gung and energy meridian medicine -clearing the lungs- relates to clearing sorrow and depression. Metaphorically having a weight on ones chest is often the result of having issues that are unspoken, worries and fears, grief. These are all compacted by Covid19.
We have been warned in various ways. The fears were compacted more by the legal control side of it. The masks, the isolation rules, the numbers and the scary statistics. Not to mention the swirling mists of speculation and conspiracy, the confusion and doubt the mistrust, the differences of opinion- it breaks up friendships and families, it threatens civil war.
At the time of writing we are coming out of a gruelling winter in the Western Cape into a cold windy Spring. There has been relentless heavy rain and cold wind. Those with houses are able to stay cosy indoors. However, due to extreme poverty and migration in Africa, some people don’t have houses. Some people live in shacks on the sand dunes in the townships like Khayalitsha, where the houses are build up and down the sand dunes, some steeply sloping. I have seen footage of a man punting along through the submerged shacks, floating on a door. And they are still luckier than the ones who live on the street or under the bridges on the highway. We who are fortunate enough not to be in that position have so much to be grateful for.
However, as a wise man (M.Scott Peck) wrote in his book “A different drum”: “Only when the old system collapses, will true community be found.”
I was so inspired by my local community when I attended a birthday party for my friend Tumela’s two year old daughter. It was an outdoor picnic on the dunes, a bring and share celebration of music and love. Many who came were members of @muizenbergkitchen. This community of artists and artisans had started a communal food garden next to the railway track during lockdown as well as feeding scheme for the homeless and impoverished members of the community. The initiative, driven by volunteers had continued for a year during the toughest lockdown and is still going strong. The spontaneous gathering on the dunes with it’s classy musical surprises showed me that where there is an intention of love and community, there is magic and that is the best cure for depression. Music, sharing and love come together when there is no jostling for power or fear of limitations. One has to be humble. Perhaps all this is happening to us to make us humble.
All of this has taken place while we have been sheltering in place from a virus. If you catch the virus, you might think it’s flu, as I did. Very few will be able to afford to take a test to find out if it is actually Covid. For that, you have to afford to pay R850 or be on medical aid, (to many that is more than they can afford for food) so only the privileged will know. If you do find out that you have it, you will be told to go home and self-isolate and that there is no medicine. So the point of the test is so that you can tell everyone you have recently seen that they have been exposed to Covid by being in your company. (And they may be very angry with you, because they may find it very inconvenient that they now have to go and self isolate for 10 days too.) There is also a stigma- even when you come out of isolation, people will give you a wide berth. However, this is a good way to find out who your real friends are. What’s worse is your symptoms may prevail for much longer than the actual illness. That’s what happened to me a few months ago. It took longer than expected to recover, but I have learned a lot from the process, and have much to share on how others can help themselves, because there is medicine.
The exhaustion I experienced post Covid felt like one feels if one has been I had been crying and screaming for a long time. That was the effect on my lungs and though I hadn’t been doing either, I felt utterly emotionally drained. One does need to be patient with oneself as Covid carries is a kind of collective grief, fear and sorrow in the way it affects one’s body. The opposite of grief, sorrow, fear and depression is Courage. Artimisia afra is known as the Tea of Courage in three African languages: Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho. It’s an antiparasitic, antiviral antibacterial and antifungal and has antihistimine properties. It also calms the immune system, preventing cytokine storms because it contains the phytochemical Quercitine. It’s known as a blood and liver tonic and soothes and supports healing on many levels. I am better now. My energy has returned. So has my courage.
I am grateful.
What I learned from experiencing Covid and what helped my Post Covid Recovery.
- As soon as I felt the dry scratchy feeling in my chest, I took a handful of Artimisia afra and some Eucalyptis leaves and boiled them up in a pot. Then took the steaming pot and sat over it, tented by towls and cloths my head covered and no gaps for air till my lungs felt softened by the steam and herbs. Then went to bed with a cup of artimisia tea and some olive leaf tincture.
- Eating healthily and regularly was essential to beating off that exhaustion that was eating me up. Thank goodness for the kind friend and family members who dropped off some groceries.
- Drinking regular hot drinks with lemon and honey was essential to staying well hydrated.
- When I felt the ache in my lungs begin, I got up and steamed my chest again with Artimisia and lavender and salt.
- Massive doses of Vitamin D, Zinc and Vitamin C made a big difference.
- Disprin is said to help with the aches and pains. It comes from a herb called White Willow.
- My friend brought me Ivermectin. The Ivernmectin cleared the heavy feeling from my limbs and on the fourth dose, my sense of smell returned. The ivermectin was in liquid form and rubbed into my skin it broke the spell. Ideally one should try and access the ivermectin in the first week while the virus is duplicating. It wipes out all the flora and fauna in ones gut as it’s an antiparasitic and it wipes one out too, but it clears out the virus.
- One needs to suppliment with probiotics after taking Ivermectin in order to rebalance the gut and immune system.
- Deep breathing exercises with guided meditation helped with the insomnia, so did the Ivermectin and Artimisia.
- My Covid was mild but it dragged out because it triggered insomnia, my personal curse, and the insomnia prevented me from getting the rest I needed to be able to heal.
- Covid is complicated because it is so heavily loaded with trauma. Depression and insomnia are complications of Covid that should be acknowledged and need attention to be able to heal. St. Johns Wort is a herb that really helps me personally and may help others with depression and insomnia in post Covid recovery. Take two capsules of St. Johns Wort at night and stick to a good sleeping schedule. Make a Tumeric Golden Latte as a night cap. Take Vitamin B and Omega oils in the morning.
- Plant Adaptogens can really be helpful in supporting adrenal fatigue, which may be an underlying cause of the slow recovery. These include Ashwanganda, Reishi, Tulsi, Cacao, Maca, Chaga and other medicinal herbs and mushrooms- make comforting smoothies with these herbal blends and stay away from too much dairy. Rather use lactose free milks, such as ricemilk, oatmilk, almond milk etc.
- Calming and releasing exercises such as stretching, yoga and guided breathing meditations can really improve ones wellbeing. There are many online offerings of this nature to guide you.
- The loneliness of having to self isolate and withdraw -and being disconnected may naturally cause a deep withdrawal and depression if it is allowed to set in. If families have to isolate and they are not getting on with each other, this compacts the situation and people can begin to act out in self-destructive ways.
- One needs to keep an eye on the children and find ways to keep morale up. Create fun family activities, get out into nature and find a happy space together one way or another. Do screen- free activities such as playing cards, mosaic, puzzles, make art together. Dance in the kitchen!
- Eating Sesame and Tahini, which contain magnesium really seems to help with the energy slumps.
- Bathing in Epsom salts and essential oils of lavender, geranium even if you can’t smell all help. Light a candle with intention. Ask for healing.
- Taking Oxygen Powder – hydrogen peroxide every morning on an empty stomach seems to help clear the virus from the system and gets things moving, it lifts the clouds.
- Regular exercise every day is essential, no matter how tired you are.
- Green power powder – a combo of greens fresh or dried in a smoothie. Wheatgrass will support the blood and oxygen levels and therefore the return of energy.
- When you are well enough, go for a cold water swim in the ocean or a river. It makes the world of difference. It brought me back to life.
- Practice Chi Kung, yoga, or any kind of movement therapy that brings you back into balance.
- Practice Gratitude and say the Hoponopono mantra to yourself, your body, the earth, your house, your family, your friends, your community, the president, etc: “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”