Anybody Else Have Pandemic Fatigue?

This pandemic has been hard. Even for people like my husband and me. I mean we are lucky to have 5 of us living in our home, so we were never really alone or really isolated from human contact but that doesn’t mean it’s not been hard for us too.  Life as we’ve known it has been put on hold for over a year just like it has for most of the world.  We haven’t been able to have our kids over, no family dinners, no snowbirding to a warmer climate, no camping, no dinners out, no socializing with friends, we haven’t spent any time with our grandkids, we haven’t even seen our son since February of 2020.  It all seems unreal and like it’s a bad dream just to say it out loud, but since our son lives in a hotspot for Covid, they are recommending they don’t leave their area and they don’t recommend we go into their area. Sure, we could push the envelope and say screw it, but the last thing we need is one of us or them to get deathly sick because we “wanted” to see our family members. We are waiting and it’s hard, it harder that 2 of our kids and all of our grandkids are 5 minutes away.  We have thankfully been able to see them from a distance, which I know is so much more than others get and that knowledge in itself is hard and I feel guilty for even complaining, yet here I am complaining and feeling sorry for myself.  But, we haven’t been able to have that time together that we crave and need for our own mental health.  So, yes even for people like us it’s been hard.

Again we find ourselves at the mercy of people who we hope are doing the right things to not only protect us as immune compromised people, but our family members and our community as well. And while we are lucky, I sit and watch with amazement while our grown children do their best to navigate it all, and we can do nothing to help them through it. It’s hard.

Our oldest daughter works as an educational assistant in the school system.  She deals with children who have special needs (mainly autistic) and they rely on touch, words, eye contact etc to guide them through their school day.  There is no way she can practice physical distancing, there is no way she can get by with not having to touch her students. She goes to work day in and day out wearing a mask while still trying to maintain a safe distance and it’s exhausting, emotional and at times too much to handle.  And then there is home time, trying to shop and plan meals all while trying to keep her family, her students and herself safe by not exposing herself any more than necessary to other people aside from her work.  They have no social time with their friends, the kids have no play dates and it’s tough.  It’s hard to watch her struggle.

Our second oldest daughter works in a medical office where peoples emotions are high and their needs are considerable and the time and manpower in a day to help these people is in short supply.  Above normal protocols are being taken; extra sanitizing, more detailed charting, pre-screening questions and fielding excessive questions, doing vitals in an office while keeping them, herself and her coworkers safe doesn’t leave much room to enjoy the productive days she has or the lovely people she encounters in a day. Patients are scared, they are confused, doctor visits look different than they did a year ago, less personable and for a “helper” and empath, she struggles.  She feels like she is always behind the 8 ball, never getting ahead, but always trying to catch up and unable to enjoy even the smallest joyful moments. Everyone is trying to be normal in a time that is anything but normal. She comes home after a long day at work and manages her home with 4 children (one of which has special needs), a dog and cat and a husband who gets up at 4 am every single day to go to work as well to provide for their troop.  They are exhausted, emotional and could really use some help from us, yet we are stuck again not being able to lend them the hands they so desperately need. It’s hard to watch her struggle.

Our youngest lives in downtown Vancouver, he is going to school, working in a retail business, his girlfriend goes to school and works at a bank.  They are working themselves to the bone, trying to adjust to not having any breaks, doing school from home and sometimes in person classes.  The people they deal with at work are demanding and they are fed up much like the rest of us with this whole pandemic and often times they take it out on our kids at their workplaces.  I worry about their safety, more so than ever before.  It’s not so much that I worry about their physical safety from muggings, violence, etc, I worry about other people and the strain they are under and the frustrations they take out on public servants who are just trying to do their job, pay their rent, go to school, etc. They’ve been Covid tested so often that they know the routine by heart and it has become a way of life for them. We see them needing a break, and we are again stuck over here not being able to give them some respite away while having the nurturing that they really need by the people that love them the most.  It’s hard watching them struggle and not be able to do anything to help them out.

This really Sucks.  Will it ever end?  I sure as heck hope so, I’m not sure that I am prepared to do this for another year or however long they think it will be. I find myself looking to the next goal post, but that goal post is constantly moving farther and farther away. It almost feels like someone is changing the price of gas while I am still filling up my car.  In March of last year, I thought by the summer we would be able to get on with life, it was kind of fun at first being stuck at home and working on things around the house with no distractions and no place we had to be or things we had to do.  Then summer hit and we were allowed to see the grand kids for short visits outside, but I wanted more. Then I thought ok, by Christmas we will be able to gather, I can do this until then.  10 days before Christmas, the goal post moved and we all had to make our own plans which didn’t involve anyone but those in our own households and while it was lovely and we weren’t alone we were still missing some of our most  important people.  Then I thought, ok…Spring Break 2021 is coming, we will be able to hang out with the kids during those 2 weeks, but they relaxed some restrictions and while we can have 10 people outside, we still aren’t allowed anyone in our home that doesn’t live here.  We live on the West Coast (also known as the “Wet” coast and the weather dictates that we need to come in for a beak from the rain, my husband and I’s turn hasn’t come up yet for us to be vaccinated so we are again unable to give our kids any help or allow ourselves to fill our love cup.  I feel like Charlie Brown who is trying to kick the football and Lucy pulls it out from under him, it’s hard and I don’t think it’s funny anymore (I’ve decided that Lucy was a bully). So now I am focusing on Easter with the hopes that we can get together then.  However, knowing because we can’t get vaccinated yet as it isn’t our “turn”, we will be masking up if we are even allowed to gather, I’m not holding my breath about it but hopeful nonetheless and I would rather mask up to spend time together than to not mask up and not see anyone.  Please don’t move the goalpost. Our son is looking towards early summer as a tentative time for a visit, so I am looking forward to that time as well.  I have to take little glimmers of hope when it hits me so I can continue to keep us safe although all I want to do is snuggle up in the couch with the grandkids and watch a movie while the others loudly colour at the coffee table bantering back and forth.  Those are the days I am focusing on, because believe me, this pandemic has been hard on everyone.  Whether you are going to work, homeschooling the kids, living in a care home that doesn’t allow any visitors, working from home, living alone or with other family members, it’s hard and my hats are off to you all.  I look around and see people doing their part and my heart is full, look around, there are heroes everywhere, we can do this.  We will do this,  and one day we will look around the table with all of our family and say, I knew we could do it.

 Until then though, maybe throw one of these blends in your diffuser, breathe deep and look towards happier days ahead!

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