It’s hard to write about things in the moment. I’ve attempted to document my thoughts and experiences throughout this pandemic. But it’s not easy to dwell on that which we already dwell too much on even if I know the writing will be therapeutic.
I’ve been the most absent from this blog this past year. When there is little life being lived, there is little, it seems, to write about. And yet this year has been tumultuous – 2021 even more so than 2020.
I did write a lot of fiction though. And I’ve had more than one story idea. I am at least thankful for that. My stories have helped me escape, and in a lot of ways, they’ve kept me going. Pandemic depression is so unlike any other depressive bouts I’ve experienced. It’s scary, too.
Life as we knew it.
You slip down the rabbit hole faster than you thought yourself capable. You reach a breaking point and rationalize never returning. You know you won’t act on it, so you’re not worried, and yet the dark voice is there – haunting you. You have your coping mechanisms, and you have a close network of friends that makes up your virtual community.
But you are alone and isolated. Even more so when both your professional and personal lives are mirrored in that isolation. It sucks more than you thought it would. And yet you cope better than you thought you would. Even with a cat plagued by disease.
You’re tired. You’re indifferent. You’re cynical. The one thing you have to hold on to is your self-worth and even then external elements strip away your dignity. You are left standing there naked and ashamed – for the body you once inhabited and for the one you no longer recognize.
And this shame haunts you even in your waking dreams. You’ve never been one with regrets. And now you regret a lot. You regret the risks you took and the vulnerability you shed. You regret your curiosity and your recklessness. You regret living at all.
What was the point, you ask yourself? What is the point? There is no point. This, deep down, you know. This, surface level, you have accepted. And yet here we are – spiraling, questioning, haunted.
You know the community you’ve created matters more than you ever gave it credit. And at the same time, you have become comfortable being alone. It is your safety net. You are never bored. Restless, yes. Bored, no. You are no longer curious. You fear the unknown. You relish in the status quo. And yet, restless.
The emotional burden of others takes its toll. You are struggling to support yourself. Alone. Isolated. Dependent. You cannot give what you used to. You also cannot take in return. No one is protected from this struggle. And you don’t seem to have the heart to care anymore.
You don’t want to care. You don’t want to try. You’ve lost the will. You’ve lost the motivation. You are burnt out. Nothing has changed, though. You don’t feel overloaded. You don’t feel overwhelmed. You don’t even feel anxious anymore (although anxious is your status quo so maybe you’ve become immune to its charms).
You want to escape into other worlds – dark fantasy, gay fantasy, androgynous sci-fi. It is here that you can live. It is here that you can retreat into yourself. It is here that you feel like yourself again. It’s not that you ever lost yourself. But you cannot be yourself in this world.
And you’re not sure you will ever be yourself again. You miss your friends. You miss your family. You miss certain social normalities. Because we are not meant to live alone. We survive. We adapt. But we cannot thrive here. And the inspiration is minimal because there is nothing new to inspire. Every day is the same.
You make it your own. But it is the same.
Life as we know it.
It is manageable, though. And I’m okay. There are days when I’ve danced. There are days when I’ve smiled. There are days when I’ve laughed. There are days when I’ve run just because. And most importantly, there are days that I still have hope.