Thursday, September 17, 2020

Funny how bad days just sneak up on you

I really thought I'd come through the Valley of Pandemic angst a while back.
I was working, reading, even getting out more.

And then it's back.

The overwhelming sense of loss.

Not being able to visit the Met.
Not being able to browse in bookstores.
Not being able to eat breakfast in diners after a nice morning walk.

I understand these are minor inconveniences not life challenges. I'm solvent, I have a job, I have a full pantry, I'm healthy! I should only be grateful.

But I'm back under the duvet this week, hiding out.

There's only one thing to do:
Robert Redford at The Actors's Studio.

Do you sink into the blues every now and then?
What do you do to comfort yourself?



AJ Blythe said...

Must be the doldrums week for sharks. They've been taking out their frustrations on surfers down here. Can I suggest, rather than an old, tough human, you try a tub of choc-mint, a snotty-green couch and a series of Irish Bake Off (I hope you can get it). A smidge off the calibre of the English version, but the accents make up for it.

I rarely get time to indulge in me when I am having a blue kinda day (yes, I get them), but when I do, a pot of raspberry rooibos tea, a bottle of nutella with a spoon, an old favourite to rewatch on the tablet and one of my projects - my perfect-for-us house design draft most likely - to do.

Tomorrow is another day, my Queen, and I hope it brings you sunshine.

MA Hudson said...

The thing that always pulls me out of a slump is connecting with someone outside of my family household. It often seems like too much of an effort to organise when I'm feeling down, but it has a 100% success rate in making me feel better.

Mister Furkles said...

This is the website that keeps track of New York's COVID-19:

https://www dot worldometers dot info/coronavirus/usa/new-york/

Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see no spike in positive results for NY state. NY has fewer than Tennessee. It's de Blasio hype.

It's all very annoying and it will pass soon.

nightsmusic said...

I think I'm like a lot of others here in that the 'stay home' stuff didn't bother me much because I already do. I've always been a bit of a loaner as an only child and when I quit working, I pulled into myself and went back to some of my old ways. But I do have a depressive streak running through me and it's those times I curl up on the couch and either binge watch old Bogey movies or re-read favorite books for hours on end. Usually, by the next morning, I'm doing better. Sometimes it takes a couple days, but I work it out. In the summer, I work in the flowerbeds and garden. If you have a community garden, you should get your hands dirty. It's a wonderful thing.

KMK said...

I'm WITH you. There's been a lot of despair associated with a pandemic debut, getting to what's supposed to be the Promised Land only to see it burn down around me. And as much as I hate myself for whining when my friends have suffered terrible losses, I've learned that all I can do is keep moving and wait to feel better. And rejoice in the little wins. Somewhere out there soon is a small victory -- or hopefully a much bigger one -- and the best thing you can do is be good to yourself and hang on until it comes. Then celebrate the heck out of it when it does!

Timothy Lowe said...

Are you kidding? The blues are a weekly recurrence in my world. Now back in school, pondering no sports, no activities, no school dances, no pep rallies, no eating in the cafeterias (students eat in classrooms -- I eat in a closet-sized space by myself). It's a very lonely world, right now, more lonely than ever.

Working again helps, even if it looks much different. Even if we mask up and only get to see our kids live once a week, even if we're piping in 2-3 students virtually while we try to juggle the classes live, even if I currently have to figure out 19 sections and 10 Google Classrooms.

Having a schedule helps. Getting some exercise helps. Doing some light housework helps. Even submitting and receiving rejections, God help me, helps.

Any sense of normalcy in an abnormal world. Hearing the voice of my coworker starting class next door, telling his students to "log onto your computers." Those things help. I shudder with the thought of winter, but shuddering won't prevent it. Best to buy some wool socks and a few hoodies. The shitstorm will pass -- future generations will look back on this paragraph in the history books with a puzzled smile.

I've got to start journaling.

tsquared said...

Mainly I cry. Then I make some coffee. Cry some more. Tackle some writing. Cry in the shower-my eyes don't swell here.
Then I do some work and cry for other people going through such awful times.
Finish work and have a little cry.
Eat and cry.
Yes, pandemic equals crying in my world.
Go to sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, crying.
(I'm having a revision of my hip replacement and had to go off painkillers and hormone replacement therapy. It's not pretty. I celebrate the days when I don't cry—or cry only once.)

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

I just finished painting our living room, getting ready for a winter hunker down. It is beautiful and pleases me every time I look at it. Husband redid the bathroom. It is clean and shiny.

Our area was jammed this summer with the got to get away folks, too much traffic to ride our bikes down the road, maybe 500 cars parked on both sides with people cramming into the small river, leaving trash and there are no bathrooms in one spot that is just a wide spot in the road. We were getting up to shop once a week at 6 then 7. It has slowed down but our little two person airbnb is booked through Oct and we got an inquiry about the whole month of Feb. Remote working people are up here and moving here.

Since we are retired and have sold off most of our equipment we are usually home but still. We haven't seen most of our friends, we're not going on a fall biking trip, the library is still closed, we don't meet friends out for dinner. I don't go to Tai Chi meetups and then browse Main Street. Everyone is masked. We don't bike to town and talk to locals at the coffee shop.

We also have more elder care duties since we lost the house cleaner and my FIL can no longer even pretend to cook a meal. That does keep me occupied but their health issues adds to stress. We can't go anywhere without getting care for them but we have to be careful who comes in their house.

I read a lot, do Tai Chi, cuddle Ramona and Harper, watch TV, watch birds. Call my sister and my friends. One friend has recently moved to Eugene, Oregon. So I am continually grateful for where I am at this time.
The little things we miss add up.

Kitty said...

I pray the Rosary every day.

Lennon Faris said...

Change your socks.

Someone told me that bit of advice years ago, maybe Douglas Adam's ghost? It's weird but even weirder, it works for me. If I'm in a funk, and I change my socks, my mood moves on.

Thinking of you all. tsquared, here is a virtual Reef hug. *hug*

Karen McCoy said...

Hugs, tsquared.

Yesterday was a bluesy day for sure. For me it's stress--this is a hectic time for academic librarianship (even working from home) and I'm also trying to get my novel submission ready for Pitch Wars. And, like Sharyn I'm also trying to fit in some house redecoration (we just bought the house in June).

I suffer from anxiety and depression even when 2020 isn't happening, and I'm constantly racked with self-doubt that I'm not accomplishing enough. However, I did discover Tara Brach and her website yesterday, and found it infinitely helpful. And, if you want some cathartic music, Ben Folds has a great song called "2020"

RosannaM said...

Oh, the doldrums. I know them well.

Comforts--Baths. Sitting in the sun reading, getting into nature in some way. (air quality hazardous for days, so those are out). Music from my teenage years. Walks (battling foot tendinitis, so that's out, also see above re. air).

So comforts are basically sitting in the bath with a book and teenage music blaring. It doesn't work well enough.

I occupy myself doing food preservation things. Latest is limoncello steeping for the next couple of weeks. I may break into it early.

KAClaytor said...

Lennon Faris is on to something with the socks. Thick or fuzzy, doesn't matter, the more garish the better. I've a collection of ridiculous socks and heartily endorse giving it a go.

Sometimes I forget what's going on out there, when I'm watching a movie or reading a book or just waking up in the morning. Then I remember, and I'm surprised every time because it just doesn't seem real.

And while I've always been an adaptable wallflower, content to hole up and shut out the world, I nonetheless find myself with cyclical doldrums and a short temper.

I've no idea where you can get a moment away from it all, living in The Big City, Janet, but getting out into The Nature and letting the sun meet your face for a while and smell the change of seasons coming, can usually turn feelings in a person towards the better end of things. It may be time for an adventure. Just make sure you wear fuzzy socks.

(Storm King Center?)

Christina said...

Lennon Farris, I like the sock idea. I'm going to try it.

I got myself out of a funk yesterday by walking to a bookstore and picking up a couple hardcovers. Bookstores are open here now with masks and hand sanitizer. You can't browse like in pre-pandemic times, but it was nice to be there.

Claire Bobrow said...

My number one cure for the blues has been spending time in the garden or going for a walk. That became impossible recently, due to choking smoke. West Coast Reiders will know what I mean. Things have taken a turn for the better in our area and I’m hoping the same is (or will soon be) true for OR, WA, and the rest of CA.

Hugs to all of you in the doldrums. Step outside if you can. In lieu of socks, I'm sending virtual fresh air, sunshine, a Cosmos blossom, a buzzing bee, and one hummingbird whizzing past your ear.

Terry said...

Our bookstore just opened for browsing by appointment. So brilliant that it cheered me up.

Beth Carpenter said...

Wish I could transport you here for a few hours. I'd feed you something yummy and we could string beads like first graders. The beads are more expensive, but it's still comforting and at the end you wind up with a pretty bracelet. And then we could all play dominoes with my mother (who is 94 and "escaped" from the assisted living home where she was going stir-crazy in solitary confinement.)

John Davis Frain said...

My prescription, FWIW.

1. Get outside.
2. Get outside again and bring a book this time.
3. Get outside and help somebody. Myriad ways to do it, even if it's just a smile to brighten their day.

Happiness is like Maya Angelou's creativity: You can't use it up; the more you use, the more you have.


Adele said...

Being on the west coast, I'd love some fresh air and sunshine, but I know it'll come back one day. We have choking smoke but nobody's house is burning down. Our pandemic daily new cases have tripled in a month, but the numbers are still low compared to what others are going through. My sister-in-law has finally been able to have the surgery she was supposed to have in April; she'll be a lot more comfortable now. After 3 months without an oven, on Monday my landlord fixed my stove.

Life could be better, but I just can't find any despair in me. Maybe it's because at least once a day I have a good laugh. If I can't find laughter in person, I'll watch pet videos on Youtube.

Craig F said...

This week had a lot of pitfalls, so turn the damned news off.

If the weather agrees, go out and blow some air through your lungs. Maybe this week I can get on the bicycle and beat myself up. Maybe even I can take the fast kayak out and get my rhythm back. I lost that a few years ago.

The world is still out there, do a thing just for you. The problems look different after that.

Brenda said...

The Met is on my list of places to be. Being close and not being able to go must be tough.
What do I do? Escape into a fictive world, either my own or someone else’s. Naomi Novik’s new book is out Sept 29th and Tana French’s brand-new-detective-and-everything-except-Ireland comes out October 6th. I wonder if authors know what solace they give.
On a tangent here, but awhile back I was in hospital with a young, obviously impoverished, and badly injured woman. She was reading one of John Grisham’s Theodore Blooms and smiling. I sent him a Facebook Thankyou note.

Barbara Etlin said...

Thanks for the Robert Redford link. I'm even more impressed with him than I was.

If my mood needs brightening I watch one or more Bogie movies, listen to my relaxing music playlist, meditate, or do yoga. I think I should buy a video of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to add to my library.

B.I.Hirsch said...

I act obnoxious online. Not rude to anyone, but obnoxious. I started a contest last week called "Covid Mask or Stripper Thong", for the writers in my group. It's kind of my way of saying if I can still laugh, I still have some control.

B.I.Hirsch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharyn Ekbergh said...

Himself admitted he was feeling depressed this morning. We went out and spent a ridiculous amount of money on fake flowers. He arranged them in the newly painted living room and was vastly cheered. Now he is planning an upgrade for the rental unit.

I am wearing my turquoise socks with kitty faces on them, a gift from my sister.

LynnRodz said...

I thought you were going to say and for some reason my eyes read: "Do you sink into his blue eyes every now and then?" Robert Redford's, of course, and I was going to say, "Yes, yes, but don't forget Paul Newman's!" Oh well, you didn't go there, but that might just get you out of your doldrums, Janet.

Fearless Reider said...

One thing that keeps me going is this little scurry of squirrelly 5-year-olds I'm guiding through online kindergarten. Even though they siphon off all of my energy on the days we're together, they somehow manage to give it back threefold in the end. Yesterday's highlight was walking to their school and donning our masks so we could visit their teacher IRL and deliver some of their very special handiwork. We are living through some bleak times, but giggly kindergartners are a reminder that all manner of things, somehow, shall be well.

And socks, for sure! Especially if you knit them yourself. Hang in there, everyone.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

It is an ongoing battle. I will think I have surpassed the worst of it and it sneaks up on me. I know I should be grateful - still employed, can pay bills, good place to live, but still. It's been a rough few months. I want the world back. My despair as of late has turned to rage that I can't swallow. Good things I am confined to quarters.

On the worst days, I feel like I will never be better again. It passes. The whole world is in this together. We all feel loss at all we once took for granted. Some have lost their lives and some everything they were living for to begin with. Make no mistake. Despair does more damage than the virus. Find comfort where you can and find hope in the shadows. And hang in there. To everything there is a season and this mad season too will pass. Robert Redford seems a good place to go to find that bit of light. For me, it is Liverpool FC, hoping against hope that COVID won't shut the Premier League down again.

Unknown said...

Although I don't actively look for someone to help, I have found that when I do, such as volunteering to assist elementary school students who have reading difficulties, I begin to feel better. I hope you are soon on top of the duvet instead of under it. <3

John Davis Frain said...

What a fine note, Brenda. Nice work.

Brigid said...

It really helps me to hear others say honestly that they are struggling. It helps to feel less alone in my struggle.

The wildfire smoke here means my small squirrelly people have to stay inside, and we big people are increasingly frazzled and headachy.

I have started more group chats of the people I most miss hanging out with in combination and am texting photos, book excerpts, kid stories, etc.

I keep meaning to make a small scrapbook titled The Care and Keeping of Brigid, with pages like "how to cure my migraines" and "what to do when I am stuck on a project" and "where to begin when everything feels terrible" (water, tea, fresh flowers, clean the table under the vase).

Panda in Chief said...

What has helped me most is going outside and working in my forest garden for an hour or so a day. But now with the wildfire smoke I can't do that. So the next best thing is staying in my PJs and listening to books on tape while I make needle felted pandas. I've expanded into red pandas, koalas, and grizzly bears too.
My regular creative work (painting, writing and illustrating) sometimes feels like it's too high stakes and takes too much concentration, but the needle felting has a meditative quality to it.

Naps are good too.

KDJames said...

I've been reading along to get some suggestions for my own blues -- and there are some really good ones, thank you all -- so I'm not sure I have any worthy advice to give.

I try to escape into reading fiction and lately I've found that ridiculously implausible characters/stories are working for me. That's not usually the case.

I chat online with friends/family and find that if I can make someone laugh, or even smile, that helps.

Snuggling the cat helps, unless it doesn't. She's not always fully cooperative.

This may sound overly simplistic, but it helps to deliberately acknowledge that I'm "in charge" of some little thing. There are so many things I have no control over whatsoever, huge awful depressing things, that it sometimes helps to say to myself, "Well, I can't do anything about *that* but I absofuckinglutely have control over *this* small thing that I just accomplished." Even something as simple as making a meal, or taking out the trash. "Just look at what a good job I did, being in charge of closing the blinds and turning on that lamp."

I might have to start wearing socks in the house so I can change them.

Panda in Chief said...

I highly recommend wearing socks with pandas, penguins, or cats on them. It helps immeasurably.

CynthiaMc said...

For the most part, I am content. I need very little to make me happy - a roof over my head, food on the table, a beach to walk on.

I miss family. Texting isn't hugging.

I work in healthcare. We do everything we can to be safe and keep our patients safe, but there's still that nagging worry on the way to work and relief on days off.

I miss theatre. I'm used to doing several shows a year. One of my theatres closed. It makes me sad.

Thank you to everyone who sent prayers and good wishes to my hubby after his two recent surgeries. It's going to be long recovery.

Wishing health and healing to you all.

Lance said...

Participate daily (lurking is a form of participation, right?) in a vibrant group of writers (Reiders) in orbit about the Queen of the agenting universe and all the rest. Get outside at least 20 minutes every day. If I can’t get outside, I create outdoor conditions in my flat (Change the air in the flat at least once a day. Use lemon and peppermint to change the odor in the flat, a low-UV light therapy box, and a non-ozone, ionizing air purifier.) I quit listening to dirges and switched to music by Two Steps from Hell. Dress for work when working.