It took two and a half years… but it finally got me. 


The Vid and I have had quite a tricky cat and mouse relationship since its rampage began. To recap, briefly… I had to shield due to being deemed ‘high risk’ by the NHS overlords in the first lockdown of 2020 – oh boy, 9 weeks alone indoors did some weird things to my already rather pickled brain – until eventually my endocrinologist and GP weighed in, and set me free. I was still super careful following that, mind you. For a while it felt like I’d got off easy… actually, for the past 2 years it’s felt like I’ve cheated somehow. It’s only recently I’ve got suspicious. Because, what’s wrong with me? Why isn’t the virus climbing all up inside me, but it’s been attacking pretty much everyone I know, at least once? Oh sure, I had some close calls – I was managing social media for a local theatre group when one of them tested positive more or less immediately after a whole cast rehearsal, during which I was running around snapping photos and chatting with masked musicians and actors, next thing I knew I was back in my teeny flat isolating for 10 days, but still not succumbing. I got a few Track & Trace warning texts along the way, too; you’ve been in contact with SOMEONE who has tested positive! We won’t tell you whom, though! Work it out for yourself! Mwahahaha… but you don’t actually need to do anything anyway, lol. I had some short periods of time when I’d be short of breath and a bit spaced in the head – but it turns out that was just GAD. Oops. Anyway… every test I’ve ever taken has been negative. That is, until last Wednesday when I took one (kindly donated from the parents) on my lunch break, and the double red lines came through IMMEDIATELY, and BOLD AS BRASS. I recorded my reaction for some A+ CF stories content, then informed my manager via Google Chat. I was advised to log off for the day, which I did, then I got up from my desk, made the 3 steps to my sofa, and collapsed. And it was there I stayed, more or less constantly, for a week. 


Grace standing in her living room surrounded by plants, backlit by the big front windows.
Photo by Tim Dunk. @facetimphotos


I’ve really honestly and truly been doing nothing for the past 7 days. Those of you who know me well – and/or read this funny little brain blueprint I still update for no particular reason at this point other than my own silly little yearnings to make some kind of mark, somewhere – will know how hard I’ve found it. Doing NOTHING. It’s baffling to me. Because, you see, I am constantly overwhelmed by the need to do STUFF, all the time, every day, always. Even now, when work is super quiet and I’m struggling to find tasks to do, I’m not kicking back and enjoying the chill because before we know it it’ll be Christmas season again and I’ll be sifting through 12,000 emails and dealing with angry shoppers over the phone – no, I’m killing time by creating and doing, like I always seem to. I’ve never been able to meditate for this reason. My brain needs to be busy. The stressed out odd jobs addict inside it cannot vacate even for a moment, no matter how badly it needs a vacation.


But for the past week… I have done more or less nothing. I napped on and off for the first  couple of days when the sweats and aches and shivers were particularly horrendous, but as I started to feel better I made sure I stayed on the sofa. I didn’t waver. I binged Schitt’s Creek and did all the crying (again). I got some menial tasks done that didn’t require any movement (applying for a new driving licence, renewing my railcard, polishing my obscenely enormous collection of earrings). I asked the parents to start a free trial of Paramount + on their Prime account so I could let CSI Vegas (the original series not the reboot, I’m not a complete psycho) turn my brain into sludge. I did a bit of reading, but not that much (this reading slump is no joke – it’s been MONTHS). I sent a lot of voice notes. When I started to feel a bit clearer in the head and some energy returned to my poor old limbs, I snipped some cuttings off my bigger Pothos plants and propagated them in some water. I did my washing up, eventually. I did ONE load of laundry. I played some Sims 4. I trapped and freed a spider the size of my palm (photo on my Twitter, for those of you who don’t believe me. It’s a miracle I survived). 


Perhaps most shocking of all, I made a few IG reels?! But let the record show that I still want the old Instagram back! I hate this push for videos. There’s a place for that already. A couple, in fact. The ‘gram has always been, in my mind, a place to share snapshots of one’s life and connect with other folks who like the same books/food/coffee shops. Okay, I’m done yelling at the cloud now.


I can honestly say that doing nothing for a change was actually quite fulfilling. Who knew? I hung up my own impossible expectations of myself and laid back on my enormous, glorious velvet sofa for many days, gorging on TV and getting up only to pee (which was a fair bit, as I was instructed to keep my fluids up). I genuinely found a bit of peace in my mind, eventually. I remembered what my past recovery periods were like; strange times when I was pretty much forbidden from doing anything and had to find comfort in silly shows and simple tasks that could be completed from bed. I noticed my body felt better, my skin actually cleared up somehow, and by the time I clocked back on to work this morning I was much less spaced and physically more relaxed. 


While I didn’t enjoy falling victim to the disease that’s wrecked so many people’s lives in the past 2 years, I’m definitely glad it’s over, that it didn’t hurt too much – and that it made me pause.


Speak soon.