I’ve been calling it PSD (Pandemic Stress Disorder) and Pandemic Ugh. This New York Times article by organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, defines the emotional and physical lethargy many of us are puddling through as: Languishing, a term that for me, conjures much better imagery.
Instead of imagining a blind mouse bouncing off the walls of a exit-less maze, or a ring of black sludge clogging the internal, emotional mechanisms and drive, I now visualize myself reclined on a Chippendale sofa in a floral-print, silk dressing gown, one pink-toenail-painted bare foot on the Aubusson floor rug, the other leg stretched out the sofa cushions, my head tipped back on the rest and an arm folded over my closed eyes, whilst my other arm rests across my body and I languish like ladies of old.
In all seriousness, the Blah is real for many, and must be acknowledged. And respected.
Every day I must forgive myself my distracted disorderliness and remind my hamster brain that I, along with a few billion other people, am living through a historic and traumatic event. To help me stay this side of total madness, I cling to the wisdom my grandmother frequently imparted to me whenever I fretted about one problem or another in my life:
This too, shall pass.
Until then, I’ll continue to wear a mask when in public, wash my hands frequently, and do my best to find flow where and when I can.
We’re social creatures meant to move. Like any caged animal missing its herd, or flock, and freedom, fear, lethargy, and the struggle to stay engaged manifests in a variety of ways: open defiance through to emotional shutdown and social closure. It’s a coping mechanism. Recognize it. Respect it. Modify it if it’s causing you, or others harm. Seriously. Reach out to your doctor if this is all becoming too much. Whatever you do, don’t pretend you’re fine when you’re not. And don’t expect yourself – or anyone else – to be who or what they were, or to work or behave at the same high level they were, prior to March 2020.
Some out there have no choice but to maintain a high-level of thought and action (thank you doctors and nurses and first responders and essential workers). Others, like me, vacillate between getting shit done, and binge watching Vera.
Some of us languishers will eventually get our pre-pandemic mojo back. Others will discover a preference for the quieter, less frenetic lifestyle lived during the pandemic and opt for a reduced – or entirely different – version of their pre-March 2020 life. Until then – and until we meet again in person friends and family – stay safe. Stay well. Stay true to your heart, and to your loved ones.
This too shall pass. <3