How are you? My therapist asked me through my computer screen; my dog snoozing under the desk at my feet.
How are any of us? I thought, willing myself to speak the truth out loud. How good can any of us be almost a year into this pandemic, with no end in sight?
Instead: I’m fine, a little tired maybe. I spent too many hours watching TikToks last night.
I’m tired. So very tired.
I’m tired of hearing about elected officials who make more than the average American could even dream about decide who qualifies for help. Suffering shouldn’t have to be qualified.
You didn’t suffer quite enough.
Your suffering doesn’t meet our qualifications.
We’re all hurting. Some of us in different ways. We could all use a little bit of help right now.
At the end of November, 22 millions of Americans had lost their jobs due to COVID-19 (this according to Forbes.com). But that doesn’t include those who were previously unemployed who suddenly found it even harder to apply for jobs that weren’t there, who watched basic unemployment benefits dry up, not qualifying for pandemic unemployment benefits.
I’m tired of trying to decide if paying $15 a week for therapy is worth it when I have car payments to make, and dog food to buy, and bills to pay.
And I know I’m not alone in any of this: this feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, anxiousness. This deciding of which bills to not pay, which week to not buy food, this buying of the cheapest health insurance plan you can while trying to avoid using it at all costs because that’s money you don’t have, seems to be everywhere.
It’s more than just money: it’s burn-out. It’s parents trying to work from home, while homeschooling, and trying to balance work life and home life. Trying, and failing. It’s about the rise in mental health problems because humans weren’t meant to live like this. We’re crumbling under the pressure of providing and being there for the ones we provide for.
We crave human interaction, human touch, tradition. How do we maintain friendships at a time like this? How do we mourn loved ones when we can’t say goodbye?
Text messages and FaceTime. Phone calls and Zoom get-togethers. Sharing in each other’s suffering while suffering in isolation.
Births and deaths. Weddings and funerals. Birthdays and anniversaries. Thanksgiving and Christmas. How do we manage apart but together?
We all want this to be over, but we can’t agree on how to get there.
With no end in sight, depression is stacked on depression, stacked on anxiety, stacked on the little identity I once had.
I filled out a single job application today. I cried after hitting submit. Even this little act of hopeful progress feels pointless.
I’m tired physically, mentally, emotionally.
I wasn’t productive today. But I survived. Sometimes, even surviving isn’t enough.