Exhaustion Versus A Global Pandemic

Photo by KEHN HERMANO from Pexels

Here we go again, my friends. Where I live, we’ve entered another lockdown, and I’m just thrilled. Overjoyed. Absolutely giddy and overcome by bitter sarcasm. Again? Seriously? I’m mean, duh, we all saw it coming. Our numbers are spiking dramatically, and something has to be done. Safety first and all that. But come on! I’m really getting tired of this shit. 

If cursing bothers you, then I’m sorry. I have a sneaky suspicion that this post might be dripping with profanity. Or, I can dig deep and employ what little self-control I possess? Uh, that might be a lot to ask for but, I can try. Maybe? Possibly?

Fuck me! Nope, apparently not.

When the news came, I sighed tiredly, squared my shoulders, and put on a brave face. We need to lock things down and limit the surge as much as we can. A lot of people are getting sick, and some of them won’t get better. I’d hate for you to experience the pain of that kind of loss. It’s horrific, and no one should have to go through it. 

If you have, I’m so sorry for your loss. If I could give you a hug, I would. Unfortunately, all I can offer you are my thoughts and prayers. Not in the overused, throw away, platitude sort of way. I say it with all sincerity. I’ve been where you are, and I’m sending you all the love I have to give. 

So, yeah, if we’re going to stop this train from wrecking then, this is a necessary step. We have to do something before our health care system is flooded and our medical personal become more overwhelmed. This is the right decision. I fully support it, and I will do my part to lower the curve.

Are we still calling it that or, is there a new buzz phrase?

Okay, here we go. We know how to do it because we’ve done it before. We’ve locked it down and lowered our numbers. A lot of lives have already been saved so, let’s save some more. We’ve got this!

Ah, there’s that tired sigh again. It’s taking every ounce of strength to keep my language family-friendly. My rational mind is fighting my emotional heart. It’s a battle royale. Logic versus feelings. Desire versus necessity The greater good versus personal needs. Who will win?

That’s actually easy to answer. I’m going to do whatever I can to protect you, your loved ones, and my own. That’s not even a debate. I firmly believe that every life matters. Your value can’t be overstated, and the world needs you in it. To jeopardize that, to hurt you because I’m feeling tired, and the cabin fever is raging? 

Nope, I can’t do that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in a moment of self-pity, disappointment, and frustration. Those are all valid responses, right? Fuckin hell.

When I hear people complain about how bitterly unfair this is, my gut response is anger. I roll my eyes and quietly ask, what’s wrong with people. How selfish are you? Could you be anymore self-centred? People her suffering, and some of them will die. Maybe it’s time to reexamine your priorities.

Again, that’s my knee-jerk reaction. It doesn’t take into account the complexities of emotions or the nuances of the human experience. If I stop and really give those people my time and understanding? I think I can relate to what you’re saying, if not what you’re doing.

There’s a level of exhaustion that’s tip-toeing close to the edge of burnout. Some people have already crossed that line, and they’ve taken the screw it approach. I’ve seen fewer people wearing masks, and I’ve had to get creative with physical distancing. I damn near walked into traffic to avoid a maskless pedestrian. That was a special moment.

It’s a bit frustrating, and now we’re all facing the consequences of this approach. The freedoms— well, more like privileges of the first world lifestyle— we’d gotten back have now been rescinded for at least three weeks. That reprieve we thought we had, has vanished.

It’s… I just…Grr! Oo, I didn’t curse that time. It’s a small victory but it counts.

I’m so tired and frustrated by this whole thing. I’ve found myself muttering, screw it a few times too. As careful as I am, as firmly as I believe in science, a part of me doesn’t want to play anymore. I just can’t keep it up. My stamina is running out. How long can we go on like this?

Last week, we had a few absolutely gorgeous days with clear blue skies and a nice cool breeze. I figured it would be nice to go to the beach for a couple of hours. I’d take my dog! He’s never seen the oceans so, that should be an interesting experience. Oh, I could take my camera and do a shoot. How much fun would that be?

I was making a plan to go and figuring out the right time to optimize safety. I have a compromised immune system so, I can’t go nuts with the whole screw it mentality. As much as I want to run wild, I still have to take more than a few precautions. Life with a chronic illness involves a lot of juggling, and that can be bothersome. But, for an hour by the ocean on a sunny day? Toss me the balls!

I figured out the best time to go would be mid-week after breakfast or about an hour before lunch. Most people are in school or hard at work, so the beach should be empty. I have a more flexible schedule, and that meant I was heading for the surf.

If you want to see me totally relaxed and completely content? Take me to the water. River, lake or ocean? It doesn’t matter to me. There’s something about standing next to a body of water that I find absolutely idyllic. The waves rolling onto the beach. The rise and fall of the tides. Staring out at the horizon and being overcome by its endlessness.

Oh, the possibilities!

When I’m near the ocean, I feel a sense of freedom and wonder. These drops of H2O have travelled the globe. They’ve seen things I can’t even imagine, and they’ve exploded wonders I can only dream of. Even when they hit the shore and evaporate, their journey isn’t over. They live on in perpetuity as a source of life, and that blows my mind.

Just picturing the journeys they’ve taken, the endlessness of their existence is a meditative experience. I can stand on that shore and stare out at the horizon for hours. Contentedly daydreaming, mesmerized by the crashing waves, and breathing in the salty air.

Is there a more perfect moment? Well, probably, but for arguments sake, nah. That’s pretty damn good.

Or, it was supposed to be, but the lockdown came into effect the day I was planning to go. If I really wanted to be petulant, I could’ve gone anyway. It’s an outdoor space that would be mostly deserted. The odds of other rule-breakers being there, at that time of day, would’ve been low, I’m sure. It would, most likely, have been safe.

Also, I would’ve been skating up to the edge of the restrictions without being in complete violation. It would’ve been fine, probably. Arg, but I’ve always been a rule follower when the rules serve a purpose. Like public safety and the overall health and well-being of my community? Yes, and I’m sighing quite dramatically. That’s a great reason to follow the letter and spirit of the rules.

It’s such a trivial thing, not being able to go to the beach, but the disappointment hit me so hard. I actually felt slightly depressed, and I placed my head in my hands. An intense heaviness washed over me. The urge to cry, scream, and yell (pardon the language), fuck this shit, was so overwhelming.

This whole year, I’ve been following the rules and defending the science. It’s all made sense, and the sacrifices have been worth it. For the most part, I’ve sucked it up with squared shoulders and a can-do attitude. I’ve had low moments, and I do miss my old life. I’ve been dreaming about the day when this is over, and we’re all free. Maybe I can explore a new life that I’ve been wanting to try on for size?

Oh, the possibilities! 

I’ve faced this situation with a modicum of frustration but a determined hopefulness. We’re going to get through this. Thousands of scientists, all over the world, have been working hard since day one. It won’t go on forever. We can do this if we work together.

That’s been my internal dialogue over the last year, but now? I just…I’m so tired. How long can our mental health sustain this level of anxiety before it fizzles out? A year seems a little unreasonable, doesn’t it? In that case, I’ve done well, but now I’m spent.

Is anyone else feeling this overwhelming exhaustion? It doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you get, it never feels enough. Is your brain tired all the time? I think I can feel it in my cells, bones, and my spirit is definitely worn out. 

How much longer are we going to have to live like this? I don’t know if I can keep it up, but I guess I don’t really have a choice. Sure, I’ll mutter the words, screw it, but I won’t actually give in to the impulse. We’ve all put in too much heart, compassion, and sacrifices to give in now. We’ve gotten each other this far so, don’t quit when we’re so close.

Or, that’s what I told myself in the mirror the morning the lockdown came into effect. We’re so close, and we’ve come this far. We can make it all the way if we work together. We can do this.

And we are close! Last week I got my CEV letter from the government. I’m Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), and that means I’m getting my first vaccine today. In any other context, I deplore being vulnerable but, I’m happy to make the exception. Put that needle into my arm! I’m ready to get that added layer of protection. 

I know I won’t be able to say screw it after I’m vaccinated. It’s not 100% effective, and I can still pass on the virus to others. Until more people get their jabs, we still have to be careful. I know this is the way it has to be for now, and it’s a little frustrating. But, it opens the door for a lot of happy laters and good tomorrows. However, we’re still living in the now so, I need to take a beat and remember this moment. 

The next time I find myself being a judgemental jackass and going after others for a moment of weakness? I need to remember my own moment of disappointment and exhaustion. I hit the wall and said, screw it. I’m feeling that overwhelming desire to throw caution out the window. I get it so, perhaps a more compassionate response would be a better idea.

For me, this is a good reminder that we’re all human. The toll this situation is taking on our mental health is immense. So, note to self: Let’s be a little kinder to each other. We’re all trying our best to make it through a tough situation.


One thought on “Exhaustion Versus A Global Pandemic

Add yours

  1. You’re not alone. I feel much the same way. We’ve just been put into another 4-week lockdown where I am. Just yesterday, videos surfaced of hundreds of people crowding the malls, angering the small business owners, and rightfully so.

    I’m so tired of all it and ready for this to be over, but what choice do I have to do but wait, at the very minimum, another four weeks, while numbers continue to rise. Make it make sense!

    Hang in there.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: