A friend from a creative group I belong to told me she has noticed that many typically positive people seem to be especially struggling these past weeks in particular. I can vouch for that; I feel like I’ve hit an emotional wall with all that has happened since March; being so ill for weeks with what I know now had to be Covid, almost losing Dan after his nightmare of complications from an appendectomy gone wrong and Covid diagnosis. He is still not the same man he was before going to the ER in early April.
In addition, I lost my first mother-in-law who I loved dearly, am worried about losing a friend who is family to illness, and have sat wringing my hands over what will happen to our university and with my teaching and performing career once classes begin in the fall as the numbers in Alabama continue to soar. So many people sick or dead across the country, so many businesses struggling. Top that off with the absolute insanity of people and politics, and I am just done. Done.
I have been on this slippery slope of depression before and recognize the symptoms; the heavy wet blanket of hopelessness, the sensation of walking in cement boots, the inability to focus or enjoy things you normally love. Sudden loud sounds send something like sparks of painful energy though my fried nerves, and my normally very patient self seems always on edge. Just going to the store is a stress-filled ordeal, something I used to find calming, and sleep…sleep is elusive.
It’s such a strange cocktail of emotions; on one hand I feel the deep sadness of the world wrapped around me like a dark cloak, and then I feel guilt for what then seems like ingratitude for the gift of spending the pandemic in a comfortable and loving home, able to do most of my work online when so many are suffering. It’s tough to reconcile the two, and it feels like I’m at war with myself. I am deeply grateful for my home and many blessings, but I just can’t shake this feeling of gloom.
I have made appointments with my doctor and with the wonderful therapist who has helped me in the past. I am making myself continue a long-ingrained habit of exercising first thing in the morning. I’m writing my true feelings and sharing them in the hopes that others who are experiencing something similar will know they are not alone. I’m talking with my closest friends, spending time in the garden and with my animals. Dan is my rock, as always, even though he is experiencing many of the same things. And yet…I am a ‘fixer’, someone who likes to make things better for others, and there seems to be nothing I can fix about the current world situation.
It feels like I am both sinking and swimming all at once, flailing my arms to try to find my way through. My whole adult life I have defined myself as one who tries to find the positives, who looks for the silver linings in whatever I’m facing, but this time around it’s much more difficult to go to that place. We are in truly unprecedented times, and so many of us are struggling to make some sort of sense out of it all. I feel like a broken record, but I don’t know the answers for any of it except to keep trying every day, every moment. And…to be gentle with myself and others when we inevitably weary of the constant barrage of madness.
There is a path forward, I believe that. It is craggy and obscured right now, but eventually it will become clear. And I’ll keep searching.