We’ve gone through so many collective phases throughout this pandemic, starting with those early hazy days where we didn’t have enough toilet paper, didn’t wear masks, and thought it was “awfully pessimistic” to think that this would all still be going in June. We’ve been through countless other phases, but thanks to trauma brain, they’ve all sort of blended together in my head.
There was before, and there is now. The rest is meaningless.
As I write that, I realize that this is how the human brain has always processed trauma. This is how survivor of war and other mass trauma have always described their experience. And now it’s us. And it’s so easy to get lost in the details: postponing weddings, risk assessment, forming pods, ever shifting politics, figuring out homeschooling, extreme isolation, mental health crises… and forget that at the core of it, we’re living through a mass trauma. That we’re not, in fact, ok.
In the past week or so, I’ve realized that I need to come to terms with the fact that I’m NOT fine. My kids are not fine. My family is not fine. Nobody I know is fine. And we’re all not fine in different ways, and in different levels of awfulness. Some people I know don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills, some have food insecurity. Some people have lost people to deaths of despair, some have lost people to COVID. Some have lost jobs, some are losing businesses. Some have mental health issues, some are struggling with trying to look put together. The list goes on and on, but almost nobody I know is fine.
But mostly, on a fundamental level? I’m exhausted. I’m lucky enough that I’m still sleeping pretty well, but I’m tired on a soul level. When I get through juggling my kids through “distance learning” (or whatever it is we are collectively pretending to do), working, and just surviving this crisis, when I get to the end of the day I have nothing left. I’ve given up on folding laundry, or ever having a properly clean kitchen again. We’re using paper plates and ordering take out a lot, but at this point we’re at phase “whatever it takes.” And when I look forward to a winter locked inside, it’s hard not to feel a sense of hopelessness.
So with that brutal honesty, how are you all doing? (And please, someone join me in the exhaustion, so I don’t feel alone.
No need to front that you’re fine. How are you actually doing?