Life has evolved to a version of normal, with shops, pubs, cinemas and restaurants open again. I’ve started seeing friends who I’ve missed terribly during lockdown and it’s a joy to reconnect. I’m struggling to be creative; I start writing but then decide that I don’t like my work and I don’t know what I’m trying to say anyway. I can’t get my thoughts in order and establish any mental clarity that will allow for creativity. There is so much to say, and yet nothing at all. I feel like we’re living in a surreal alternative universe where things look mostly ordinary except with the addition of masks and hand sanitiser. The reality is that we’re still wading through cataclysmic global tragedy, but it’s become commonplace. My perception of this new life is skewed; most of the time I feel like I’m only wearing one contact lens. I can see well enough to get by, but half my vision is blurry, I have headache and I want to go to bed.
Even the fundamental principles of time seem altered; I have loads of time but, simultaneously, I have no time. I find that the most mundane of tasks takes me longer and there are always things on my to-do list that are left unfinished. The past 7 months have felt like a decade and the weight of all the death and injustice sits heavy, like a oil monster, crouching on my shoulder, oozing its slippery darkness on everything it touches. I almost don’t have the energy to be stressed about the virus any more, which is stressful in itself. I am vigilant, anxious to protect myself and those around me, but my attention drifts elsewhere. I pull it back in time to remind myself to keep washing my hands, packing several masks in my bag and remaining at a safe distance, but it’s hard to stay focused. I’m in a permanent state of mild confusion, muddling up my appointments, misreading signs and forgetting my keys. The world has not seen tragedy on this scale for generations, the age of Covid-19 has anaesthetised my emotions and I’m mostly numb. If I could feel something, I suspect it would be anger and then grief. I expect that one day, my semi-trance will wear off and it will hit me, hard.
You might ask why I’m sharing this? How might it be helpful to someone else? I hope there is solace in the realisation that someone else might feel the same way you do. That another person is also feeling weird, disorientated and perplexed, even though they appear to be functioning normally. Throw a couple of mental illnesses into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a feeling of acute peculiarity. I hope that, whatever you’re going through, you are not alone and you have access to good support.