Getting thru the rest of the pandemic

For MY sake, people, PLEASE get your damn shots!

rest of the pandemicHow am I going to get through the rest of the pandemic? Eighteen months after it hit our area, I have found the need to analyze the ups and downs of my mental health.

Thursday, March 12, 2020: Last choir rehearsal to date. The next day, sensing things would shut down for a while, I took out seven Marvel DVDs (which I didn’t watch for a few months). The church was canceled that Sunday.

Sunday, March 22: Church started on Facebook, with the pastors, their older daughter, and one church member. The music was previously recorded from past services. An ersatz experience, but better than nothing. It got better over time, with section leaders and a handful of others taping music specifically for the service. BYOC – bring your own communion, often Wheat Thins and my MIL’s homemade grape juice.

April: Starting to feel a bit isolated, I started to call people on the telephone, two per day until Memorial Day, Then one a day until August.

April 22, 2020: My father-in-law died, unrelated to COVID. His three surviving children were with him. No service at that time.

Mid-August to early October: Worked the Census. Did I feel totally safe going door-to-door wearing a mask? Why no, but it was important work.

December: Missing the chance to sing at church during Lent and now Advent sucketh.

I’m not throwing away my shot!

January 2021: There are a couple of vaccines out there. When will I get mine? When will I get mine?

February: When will I get mine? My wife got her first shot.

March: I got both of my injections, my wife got her second and my daughter got her first! Yay!

April 6: I went out to eat, outside, with three of my oldest friends, Carol and Karen and Bill, plus Karen’s old friend Michael. Besides being happy seeing them, this was incredibly liberating.

May 1: our daughter tossed her parents out of the house so she could clean the room. So her parents saw the tulips in Albany’s Washington Park, hung out at Peebles Park, saw the waterfalls at Cohoes, which despite it being in Albany County, I hadn’t seen in 30 years and my wife had never been there. Then we went to a small Lebanese restaurant and ate… INDOORS. There was only one other party there, but still. Radical stuff.

June 21: First day of IN-PERSON church worship! Hallelujah! Masks in church, but the coffee hour in the parking lot.

But then…

Just as I thought we were coming out of it, the country, and indeed my county, was experiencing upticks in the infection rates. So it felt as though every other plan that I was involved with was being altered.

I know I’m hardly the only one. Massive Science noted last month. “The past six months in the US provides a clear example of how vaccine complacency works, showing how over-optimistic assumptions about vaccines can lead to the elimination of other precautions too quickly. “

So, for instance, “Saturday, October 16 was supposed to be Young@Heart’s triumphant return to the stage in our hometown. And then came the Delta variant. Suddenly, it was – once again – no longer safe for us to rehearse together and perform live in person.” they’re doing the virtual thing.

The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library has changed its  Literary Legends gala plans from about 150 people indoors and unmasked to 75 people, vaccinated and masked, a more difficult task.

I had hoped that, after a year and a half of not singing in the church choir, surely we’d be back together. Alas, no. And there are myriad other examples, from performances limited to funerals still postponed. And we’re in the situation in large part because… well, you know why.

Not so funny

I know that there are  “Funny Vaccine Memes To Get You Through The Rest Of The Pandemic.” They are so NOT working for me. (And to be honest, some of them I just don’t get.)

So I’ve become angry, even enraged, by the situation. Now, anger doesn’t last in me. But sadness does. After railing against the inanity, I’ve felt melancholy at best, or likely depressed.

I’m trying to discover remedies. Reading books won’t help, because I can’t focus on them presently. No video of more than about seven minutes can hold my attention. I read the lifestyle tips ad nauseum, which are just not attainable at present. I’m not sure of the solution; I’ve opted against medicating with alcohol.

A few months ago, I sought the service of a psychologist. It was remote, and it didn’t “take” for me. I’ll probably seek that route again.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Getting thru the rest of the pandemic”

  1. Yes, I have lost a lot of my ability to laugh at the “funny pandemic jokes” and that kind of thing. I’m tired. I’ve taught through all of this, first fully online from my house (which is a VERY SMALL house without actually being a Tiny House), then partly online from campus, now mostly-in-person-but-with-online-broadcast for people who are isolating. And I’m TIRED.

    Also I realize how few “fun” or “just pleasant human interaction” things I’ve had for a very long time – it feels like all I do is work. And I don’t know how to get the simple pleasant interactions BACK. I’ve joked, bitterly, I will need a “fun coach” after this is over to help me remember how to enjoy things if this is ever over.

    And now, holy heck, all the back and forth on whether or not someone like me needs a booster. I’m just so tired…

  2. Oh my dear brother, I feel your pain! These are not fun times, but what helps me to get thru is having the attitude of gratitude. Every day I list 20 things that I am grateful for, that has nothing to do with COVID or today’s world, and could be very simple, things easily taken for granted like: Waking up. Having a bed to sleep in. Having a roof over my head. (knowing there are many that cannot same the same). Having eye to see, ears to hear, mouth to speak, hands to hold, feet to walk, food to eat, car to drive, etc…simple things that we sometimes take for granted, but it is good to go back to basics…I watched the Ali documentary on PBS this week and after one of his fights he lost because he took his skills for granted, he went back to basics: working out, cutting trees, doing what he did originally to get him to the Championship status. You are a champion too, Roger. Very bright, thoughtful, caring, loving, funny, talented, inquisitive.

    So, how can you embrace your basics? Maybe look at the world as a child might, go back to your basic curiosity and awe, and stop and smell the roses. You have always had a wonderment about so many things, which has been your basics since childhood, and it has served you well over the years. But this is a new chapter in a book that we did not write or expect to read, but please, my dear brother, do not let COVID steal your joy. Remember one of Dad’s sayings ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. You got this! We will get thru this. God loves you and so do I. You are a champion, so look for ways to embrace the powerful, supportive, hopeful person that you are, who has looked at the glass half full.
    Remember who you are, and put that brilliant brain to work to figure out how to make lemonade out of these lemons we have been given. So proud of you for reaching out to your friends and counselor. Proud of you for being honest with your feelings and not sugar-coating them. Glad you are not self-medicating with alcohol…tempting, and many have, but, again, that once again shows who you are, your wisdom, your moral compass, your strength, your resolve. Know that you are loved, and believe that you will carve something beautiful out of this “new normal”, perhaps a road less traveled, perhaps some new territory, like writing a song, or being a pen pal to someone in the military, or volunteering with vaccination clinics, or…I pray that you find that certain something that will bring you lemonade and joy in the midst of these lemons. Allow yourself to grieve the losses you mentioned. So sorry, as we are all going thru it. But we will get thru this and rise up like the Phoenix out of the ashes.
    Love you! Hang in there. You got this! Call if you need to talk. I am always here for you.

  3. One of the most utterly useless things people say to someone who’s struggling with mental health or emotional issues (or both) is, “you’re not alone”. At the same time, it’s one of the most utterly important things to remember. As you know, I tend to be more or less practically minded, so what I take from that is that I can learn from others’ experiences and maybe adapt some of what they do to help myself. The results are predictably mixed, but there’s also been useful stuff.

    If all else fails, I strip it back to basics: It’s okay to not be okay, and that sometimes just being is enough. And what Leslie said about being grateful even for simply waking up is my go-to when things are really rough. Start at the simplest and work up. May not help you, I know, but it’s helped me tremendously over the past two years.

    That, and write about it. Of course.

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