Here’s The Unvarnished Truth: I’m Scared Out Of My Mind

I just finished cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the floors. Since we started self-quarantining I’ve struggled to do the simplest tasks at the end of the day so I decided to try and get them over with in the morning.

I can’t look at myself in the mirror

Every time I passed by a mirror I looked at myself and it wasn’t a good idea. My face is swollen and the dark circles under my eyes are more pronounced than they’ve ever been. My skin has a grayish hue and I have not been digesting my food well. Sleep is hard to come by and tossing and turning all night makes me rush to get out of bed in the morning in the hope that activity will change my thoughts.

I don’t care about what I look like, but looking at my reflection is a reminder that I’m scared out of my mind. I stood there a few times trying to relax my eyes and all I could see was fear staring back at me.

I have no idea what will happen from one day to the next and just like everyone else, I want some answers about what I can do to fix this and make it go away. I want to offer myself and my family some comfort around this pandemic and it’s becoming very clear that there is no comfort to be had.

woman looking at a bill and worried
I’m so scared and worried about everything. (Twenty20 @MargJohnsonVA)


I’m the mom and I should be providing comfort

I’m the mom. I should be able to provide some comfort and reassurance to my kids right now. That’s my job and right now it’s a heavy load to carry.

My three teenagers no longer ask when they can see their friends. They no longer ask if we can buy this or that. They no longer complain about having to do their school work because they are happy to have something to do to distract their minds for a bit. And, the fact that they aren’t even asking for those things breaks my heart.

I am trying to live my life through this, just like you are. I am trying to get up each morning with that “It’s a new day” attitude while trying not to vomit. But I literally don’t know how to do this.

Two weeks ago when there was talk of closing schools I thought that maybe this was an opportunity. This will be good, I thought. We’ll get a head of the virus and things will be back to normal before we know it.

We all know that’s not the case anymore.

The unknown is making me tense and irritable. I have no idea what is in store for my three teenagers, one of whom will be leaving home next year. I have no idea when they will be able to return to their normal. It’s been taken from them and it affects them now, and it will affect them in some yet to be discovered ways later.

Not being able to be social is taking its toll on them and there’s nothing I can do except be there to hug, talk to them, and encourage them to FaceTime with a friend every day.

I want to be informed but watching the news incessantly has put me in a bad way. I can only take it for a half an hour a day. I try to soak up the facts, then I need to move on beating myself up all the way because I wonder if I’m putting my head in the sand.

I’m so angry

I am angry. I am so angry and I’m looking for someone to blame. I am trying not to take that anger out on my kids and I end up taking it out on myself. I have thoughts like, You should be doing more with your time at home, and why aren’t you working harder? And you shouldn’t be this tired.

I don’t know if I’ll have enough income coming in the weeks and months to come. As a single parent, I don’t have someone living with me who can set my mind at ease. I don’t have someone to look at me across from the dinner table and assure me it will all be okay, even if they aren’t sure.

If I lose my house, I lose it on my own. There won’t be anyone else here to soak up the feelings and help me pack my kids’ art projects they’ve brought home for the last thirteen years.

Every time I go to the grocery store I come home, wash my hands, strip my clothes off and change. And then I feel like I set a timer waiting to see if anyone gets infected.

My son came down with a little cough last night. For the past two weeks he’s only moved from my house, to the car, to his father’s house. I went up and checked his forehead. I asked him if his throat hurt. I wondered if I’d done enough to keep him and his brother and sister safe.

It turns out he was burning incense in his room, something that brings him pleasure but also makes him cough. I told him no more until this thing is all over. I’ve taken another thing away from him and I hate it.

I’m trying to hold it together. I have moments when I can and moments when I can’t because the truth is, I’m scared out of my mind about today and about what the future will bring. I know you are too.

We’ve never been here before. We aren’t sure how to deal with all of this– our fears, our thoughts, our anxiety, how to take care of everyone.

So, all we can do is remember that this is uncharted territory for ALL OF US and we need to be there for one another while doing our absolute best to help each other through this.

And that has to be enough.

More to Read:

I’m 24 and the Thing in the News Was In My Body

What Is School Without The Students?

About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

Read more posts by Katie

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.