The failures of our past economies are making us vulnerable. We need to choose to value different things economically.

David Mordecai’s #MadCovidDiaries diary – 1.05.2020

It’s been strange to go from five weeks when my mood felt remarkably good and stable, to a place where I’ve needed to interpret the signs of what my brain and body are doing sometimes moment by moment in order to decide what kind of interventions to make.

First off, I am and have been okay. While the four days in bed that I mentioned in my last post may sound like a poor state of mind, I don’t experience depression as deeply distressing anymore. I’ve learned a lot of self-acceptance in my mental health journey. If bed is where I need to be, I’m just going to roll with it (no pun intended). When I’m depressed I am usually still pretty good, if not perfect, at not judging myself harshly. I have also learned not to engage in despairing thinking through years of therapy. Depression for me is an absence of pleasure and motivation, but rarely emotional pain.

I am also learning to recognize that usually, the solution at those times when I retreat to my bed is to figure out what I am avoiding and how I need to engage constructively. Last week when I started to engage with the issues that were upsetting me, my mood shifted rapidly.

The COVID situation is changing. I have known a couple of people so far who have had COVID symptoms, including loss of smell. But neither got very sick and neither was able to get a test. This week a friend who had a fairly bad fever got a positive test result. He’s been improving without needing to go to the hospital, but it’s the first instance in which I’ve known someone with a case confirmed by a test and serious symptoms.

I feel for my friend and his experience highlights my own vulnerability. I’m still physically unwell and that is frustrating even if I am not worried about it being COVID related. I really would prefer to get over whatever is causing my vertigo before getting COVID-19. And getting infected seems almost inevitable despite all our efforts.

Fear and anxiety are emotions that I generally experience faintly. When I talk about being afraid it usually means that I have thought about a situation and realized that I need to be wary. It has taken therapy and meditation to help me recognize the subtle signs of anxiety in my body. COVID-19 is becoming an opportunity for me to explore how fear and anxiety actually feel.

I am also feeling frustrated. Years of therapy have taught me how significant framing is in shaping the nature of what we experience. It seems to me that we can go through this pandemic with our old economic values in place and experience it as an economic catastrophe. Or we can recognize all the ways in which the failures of our past economies are making us vulnerable now and choose to value different things economically. This to me is part of our way forward. It is frustrating that none of our political leaders seems attuned to this opportunity although there are definitely pundits and academics who are writing about it.

That kind of frustration does depress me and is hard to cope with. Maybe I need to write some more about those ideas for change. We’ll see what the coming week brings.

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