I’ve got to write quickly before Pandemic Anne arrives.
These days my brain seems to have two bosses.
1) Positive, can-do Anne
2) Pandemic Anne — also known as sad, pathetic Anne
Pandemic Anne tells me there are already more words written online than can ever be read. She tells me to sit my lazy butt on the couch with popcorn and a glass of Riesling and find something to watch. This is why I must write quickly before she arrives.
I used to consider myself pretty even-keeled and upbeat, but I am far less so one year into lockdown.
Tomorrow I get my first vaccination shot, and I’m hoping that will help me steer the ship away from Crazytown and back to safe harbor.
My analytic side can outline why I’m a mess
1) More than usual, I feel I can’t control what comes next in my life. Will we ever return to working in the office? Will new variations of Covid leave us standing apart or wearing masks for multiple years?
2) Covid is so bleeping constant. Any activity involves calculating risks, coming up with safe strategies.
3) Viewing people as a threat, instead of a positive, is a dark outlook on life.
Okay, that’s the top three.
At the start of the pandemic, I tried to look at the positives
1) I could sleep in more and catch up on rest.
2) With everyone home, I could interview people who would otherwise be unavailable (such as Billy Mills).
3) Maybe I’d restart some abandoned projects around the house.
But what I found was…
1) I didn’t sleep well. More than once, I dreamt that I had forgotten about Covid and gone shopping as usual only to realize I’d unwittingly exposed myself (and therefore my husband) to dangerous germs. I woke heart pounding and filled with shame.
2) My writing ambition seemed to seep away despite having some apparent successes.
3) Our house is still a mess, and if we haven’t been able to fix it up with all this ‘spare time’ well then Pandemic Anne knows we never will.
Why am I telling you this?
Because much has been written about the pandemic helping us tap into our creativity, our gratitude for all we have. These tough times challenge us and will make us more resilient and grateful going forward. Or so the theory goes.
I wanted to assure you that not everyone is rising to the occasion. My productivity sucks. My mood is all over the map. Not that I don’t have good days, but I can’t count on them the way I once did.
The only part of my life that is going strong is my running. Running for me brings a Zen state of mind and banishes Pandemic Anne from my brain for a solid hour or more. Post-run Anne can kick Pandemic Anne’s ass without breaking a sweat! Pandemic Anne is sneaky though and slips in later, a glass of wine in hand.
You should know this because, as human beings, we compare ourselves.
I didn’t want you to ask yourself, “What’s wrong with me? Everyone else seems okay.”
I’m in a slump, suffering from ‘pandemic fatigue.’ My friend Michaela was the first to use the term ‘slump’ about me. I could have kissed her (except for Covid and social distancing). A slump is temporary and something most people hit at some time in their life.
We Are All Covid Cases
On some level, we are all Covid cases. No one’s life or psyche has gone unaffected. If I’d actually caught the Covid virus, I would be telling myself I’m doing great, still working, still running, still writing. Still mostly upbeat.
And that’s true. I am doing great. But, at times, I struggle to be okay, which is why I must post this before Pandemic Anne returns.
How ‘Bout You?
I wrote this post in response to a writing prompt, from Anna Maltby, What Comes to Mind When You Think About the Pandemic. It was a writing prompt, published on February 22 encouraging people to share how they were doing as we approached the anniversary of the Covid pandemic. I loved the idea and figured I’d jump right on that. Which is why today, March 29th, I’m posting. Now, do you believe me when I say my productivity sucks?
Dawn Bevier wrote a beautiful post in August - Not Thriving? Me Either. And I’m Here to Tell You It’s Okay. Let her words, as well as mine, help anyone else who is struggling or stumbling. You are not alone and struggling is okay.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Take care.