I was inspired to write this morning by Nicola Slawson, author of a fantastic newsletter called The Single Supplement. Nicola is a single woman in her 30s from the UK who also struggles with anxiety and depression. This morning she wrote about the pandemic and what that’s taken away from her life.
I’ve tried very hard these past 7 months to focus on the positive. To try to find things that bring me joy. To practice gratitude everyday. But with things now getting so much worse, I’ve started to lose the energy to be able to do that. I’m consumed with anger at how bad we’ve let it get here. I feel completely hopeless that things are ever going to get better so I felt the need to share all the things this virus (and everyone who is not taking it seriously) has caused me to lose:
- The joy of social connection – This one is huge. I used to derive so much joy from a simple happy hour with friends or coworkers. From having a movie night, from the many Disneyland visits I’ve been lucky enough to have over the years. Even just giving a friend a hug. I’m thankful we have Zoom and Facetime, but it’s just not the same.
- The best work environment I’ve ever had – Believe me when I say, I work for a true gem of a company. We not only got lunch everyday, they had events and outings for us all the time. I miss of all that more than I can explain, right down to all of us just sitting at one of the tables in the kitchen laughing as we ate our food.
- My freedom – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people talk about how wearing a mask or doing any other kind of COVID safety precaution “violates their freedom”. Well let me tell you, by you not following those precautions, you’re taking away my freedom. The more people do whatever they want and pretend like there’s no virus, the worse it spreads and then the more I have to stay holed up in my house so I don’t get the virus and die or end up paralyzed.
- Being able to exercise – I’ve talked about this before but I have so few options for being able to get exercise. Water aerobics was the one thing I could do that brought me joy and also gave me a fantastic workout. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do that again now. I’m lucky my body hasn’t deteriorated anymore or that I’m not in as much pain as I could be, but it takes a huge toll on my mind and body not to be able to get in a pool.
Having said all of this, I do still have a lot to be grateful for. I still have a job. I’m not having to call unemployment 20 times a day just to try to get the money I’m owed so I can pay my rent or feed my family. My parents and I are all healthy. I’m in a safe living situation now where we’re all on the same page about what to do and what not to do. I have a lot of amazing, caring friends who do take this whole thing seriously. I don’t want to minimize any of that. But the reality is, this sucks. This whole thing is awful and it didn’t have to be, and as we approach the holiday season, I only expect things to get worse.
I hope I can find some kind of solace again. Some kind of joy. I’m just no so sure right now.