Friday, January 14, 2022

Covid Nightmares

Computer manipulated oil pastel on gray paper: Covid Nightmares

 It's taken me a good long year or more to really feel the depression and anxiety surrounding Covid. 

Two years ago in March, a few days before my birthday, I came home from the elementary school where I worked as an Instructional Assistant in the Title 1 program. And I never came back. Covid had just hit, and schools were shutting down, moving on to distance learning, etc. I had planned to retire that year and had just started that process. I was to finish out my contract until June, so, I did on line teaching until then. Also, we cancelled our annual It's Regan's Birthday Bash on the Oregon Coast in Yachats. Every year, forever, we went to the coastal town of Yachats to celebrate my birthday. Not that year. 

It was crazy, frustrating, and very strange. Laptops loaned to me from the district didn't work, learning the brand new systems was definitely a challenge, taking on line courses to justify my salary were boring and hard, and, seemed pointless since I was retiring. But I got through it.  (The challenges for certified teachers and the little kids were much harder.)

I don't mind wearing masks, I was vaccinated and got my booster. I wash my hands, take zinc and other supplements. The first year was okay. The second year, a bit harder. I miss visiting with friends. 

And lately, I realize it's really hit hard. I still mind the whole mask thing, but the paranoia has seeped into my subconscious. I don't feel comfortable meeting friends in public places. When I do, it's that little window in between Covid variants. One week it's safe, the next, not. Numbers of patients with Covid who are hospitalized go up, and, deaths. Medical staff shortages. Confusing data from the CDC and other organizations. Everywhere it seems a lot of people -- far too many! -- are behaving as if Covid is over, or, not so bad. Crowds at football games without masks, sitting right next to each other.

Also, as strange as it is to acknowledge, our ages no doubt have something to do with my anxieties. I'm in my late sixties, my husband in his seventies. We have all kinds of health issues (strokes, heart attacks, chronic asthma, and more...

So, hating the fact we're leery and a bit paranoid, we are, nonetheless. . . leery and paranoid.

Meanwhile, I feel guilty for not socializing, while others do without a care. I can't help but feel despair and anger at people's stupidity. And I am angry and also despair at the systems in charge, because they know what needs to be done, and it isn't getting done. It never will get done. That's what systems do. They gaslight us. They intentionally do the most blatant topsy turvy acts of absurdity.  

Covid Nightmare: "Bleh", oil pastel on gray paper, Regan Lee 2022

And now Covid has infected my dreams. I have dreams I walk into a store without a mask, and I'm horrified that I forgot. Or that others are not wearing masks, and we get into a fight. The past week, I've had two dreams where I had a bad case of Covid. I woke up very scared.

I tried to interpret the feeling those dreams gave me in this piece. But it was "blah." I manipulated the oil pastel on the computer, and was surprised at how this image gives a pretty good idea of what I'm feeling. 

Covid Nightmares. Indeed. The only thing I can say is that we need to be patient with each other and take care of ourselves. Such a simple thought, but hard to do. Especially now.


Jack Brewer said...

Thanks for your blogpost, Regan. Many people should relate. I sure do. At times I find it helpful to consider distress about the covid situation is an appropriate emotional response, all things considered.

I think one of the many things that became so wearing is covid forced me to so fully accept we're never going back to yesterday, only forward to tomorrow. I guess that's always the case, but the past couple years really drove it home: only forward, no going back.

Cheers. Thanks again for your thoughtful post.

regan lee said...

Thank you Jack.