How 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.
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.