It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I hadn’t realised how long until I started receiving messages this week asking me if everything was okay in my world. I forget at times that people read what I write and when I don’t post, they noticed. I find that flattering. Truth be told, I’m pretty much done with this whole COVID thing. The novelty of staying in the one place for any length of time has worn off. It’d been about 12 years since I’d spent more than 14 consecutive nights in the same bed and I was used to it. The ritual of packing and unpacking was something I just did. Travel was very much part of who I am. It’s what I liked to do. In conversation with a dear friend this week, they said they’d wondered how I was coping with not being able to travel. That said, I did get back to Ireland twice recently and had a lovely weekend in Pécs so it’s not as if I haven’t been anywhere. What’s worrying though is my git up and go seems to have got up and gone.
I’ve stopped checking Twitter because I find the vitriol upsetting. I haven’t posted on Instagram in an age. And were it not for Words with Friends, my forays onto Facebook would be a lot fewer than they are. I’ve been beset by blahness. I find myself either possessed by a Duracell-like inner energy or feeling that someone has unplugged me (the latter admittedly far more common). The other day, after an 8-hour online workshop that would usually have left me capable of little more than sleep, I prepped about 10 kg of pears and canned them. I made a batch of Chinese plum sauce from the last of the plums. I baked two loaves of nut bread – and that was before starting in on the ironing. That rare burst of energy surprised me. I’ve not had a glimmer of it since and don’t expect to see it again anytime soon.
I find it increasingly difficult to concentrate and have to really focus to stay tuned in to a conversation. I lose track of the days of the week (a common enough COVID symptom) but even scarier, I realised that I’d lost a whole year – I was a year older than I thought I was. I have a goal to achieve before I hit 55 and was sure I had two years to get there. Not so. Where did those 12 months go?
I’ve been dreaming a lot of dead people – friends who passed recently and those who’ve been gone a while. There’s no rhythm to the dreams, no pattern to the substance, no signs that I can see in the content. It is disturbing though to wake up morning after morning after spending my sleep in the company of those I can’t call to ask what’s up. I wonder if I’m losing it. But then I think that in my own way I’m grieving for a normalcy I’ll not see again, a way of life, of living, that has died.
In May, William Wan, in The Washington Post, wrote about how the coronavirus is pushing American into a mental health crisis. The Black Dog Institute published a report on the mental health ramifications of COVID-19 in an Australian context. The Health Foundation cites a raft of studies showing the worsening profile of mental health in the UK. In June, Conor Gallagher, writing for the Irish Times warned that Ireland is facing a tsunami of mental health problems. Surveys and studies abound – there’s an international effort being made to understand how the pandemic is undermining the state of our global mental health. In Hungary, it’s being led by Dr István Bitter, from Semmelweiss. The survey is available in English and Hungarian if you’re interested in taking part.
I do remember.
the only fuzzy circumstance
is sometimes where and how.
The where and the how of the last six months are very fuzzy indeed.
There’s little point in reminding me that I have a blessed life, That I want for nothing. That I have good friends who care about me. That I’m loved and cared for. That I have choices. I know all that. I know it. But feeling? I’m not feeling much of anything.
I’m grateful to those of you who’ve checked in with me recently, just to make sure that all is well. (And it is, honestly. I’ll be grand on the morrow.) You remind me that I should be doing the same for others. Now isn’t a time to take umbrage or be upset by how people are behaving. We can never really know what anyone else is going through. We’re each dealing with this bloody COVID in our own way. We need to cut each other some slack, park the judgement, and just be nice.