I’m not going to lie, this blog is a real struggle. I’ve sat here watching that blinking cursor for hours trying to just get any words I like down on the page. For the past month or so, I’ve felt completely stagnant; no ideas, no motivation, no creativity. No points for guessing that the lockdown has had pretty much everything to do with it.
Covid-19 has brought with it a secondary pandemic; one of mental and emotional ill-health. The lockdowns, constant uncertainty and worries about loved ones has taken its toll on all of us. People I know, who have never experienced forms of mental illness before, have experienced anxiety and depression that they have never felt before, and those of us with these conditions or tendencies, our symptoms have only been exacerbated.
I pride myself on the progress I’ve made to manage my anxiety and panic attacks over the years. Practice and commitment really have paid off. But the lockdown blues, as I’m calling it, is a new feeling for me. It’s one I haven’t yet developed coping mechanisms for.
It’s hard to explain how I’m feeling, but I think others who have felt it will know. It’s a weird, jarring, oxymoronic feeling of feeling nothing at all. I don’t feel anxious, I don’t feel sad, I don’t feel angry, I just feel empty. But that empty feeling is so overwhelming. For me at least, it’s consumed my motivation and drive to do things that make me happy or feel better. For all intents and purposes, I might as well be a vegetable because that’s kind of all I want to be right now.
Of course, I know that I need to push myself to write things, read books, do exercise, be a functioning human etc, in order to feel better. But I’m stuck in a cycle and right now it feels too hard to pull myself out of it. It’s a “the less you do, the less you want to do” type situation. Like I said at the beginning, writing this feels like a feat of strength; I was so lost about what to write or how to express anything in words. Two excellent traits for someone who’s built their career on writing.
I guess what I’m trying to say, albeit incredibly inarticulately, is that everything just feels really hard right now, even something that usually comes so naturally.
Cliche as it is, though, I do think it’s OK for us all to not be OK at the moment. Because let’s face it, our world is not OK. The way we are living right now – in total isolation – is not natural for us. With that in mind, of course we’re going to feel empty and lost and frustrated and unproductive; we’re literally going against the way we’re wired.
I know I’m not the only one out there who’s struggling, but I know how easy it is to feel alone in it all, because I do too. And even though I’m open about it, it’s something that’s so difficult to communicate because it’s just so intangible; it’s not something you can discuss and unpick and work on. It’s just something that’s there.
All of this being said, I don’t want to end on a negative note. No one has the answers to this weird situation, because no one’s been in it before. All we do is try to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take the little tiny wins – even if that’s simply “I got out of bed this morning”. This is will end at some point; we will get our lives back and lockdown blues will be a thing of the past.