Well, the world has changed since I last wrote here, how are you doing?
…it’s okay if you don’t have an answer for that. I don’t.
TL:DR – coping advice, release information
For such a time of stillness and quiet there seems to be a tremendous, fearful energy in the world. I coast on waves of feeling okay, worry, guilt, sadness, anger, helplessness, checking numbers that I cannot control. There is so little I can control even when events are following a status quo. I won’t say normal, because I don’t think normal was a good way to describe the world before that. I hope that good comes out of the crisis and a lot of deficiencies and inequalities are finally too much to ignore.
It feels weird to post. I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t already been said, and better. But what the hell. For posterity, let’s have a record in the very unlikely case that this is the last surviving piece of media. (I had intended to share news with this, but it ended up being advice. So that’ll be another post.)
We are living in a pandemic. We are living in a period of mass information and misinformation. As a result, we are in paralysis. Information has been a nonstop flood, with no real cohesion to it. While I can do my best to try verify sources, I am not a virologist or epidemiologist. I know that the data on testing falls short of the true metrics, due to testing shortage or any other factors.
This is a worldwide pandemic. Geographic regions are managing this better or worse, depending on their infrastructure and governance. This virus amplifies preexisting conditions. It can impact pulmonary systems, heart, kidneys, and can cause strokes. It spreads by touch, as it can live on surfaces. Infected individuals can be asymptomatic, and the illness can develop between 1 and 14 days of exposure.
Treatment of this illness has not been fair or equitable. Massive layoffs have happened so far, and there are likely to be more. The illness will likely have a second wave in at least one area of the world. While there are multiple projects in progress on a vaccine, it is worth noting that so far no vaccine has ever been developed for any strain of coronavirus, let alone COVID-19.
This is affecting everybody’s mental health. I had to go into a period of serious isolation last year, so in a weird way I am more acclimated to it, but it was still a shock.
Things to remember, that might mean we can lurch on through this.
Let yourself rest. I know this is exhausting, but you have to stay the course. I have had multiple family members diagnosed with COVID-19. Thankfully they are recovered, but I know others who are not so lucky. It is also an exhausting time and you may feel the need to sleep or rest more often. Your threshold for learning or new facts may be lower. That’s okay. It happens. It will pass. Let yourself rest and don’t hate yourself for it.
It is a time when reality can very easily get slippery. I have been through this. I know how it begins. It doesn’t topple or happen all at once. It slides. Little things. Because they’re little, they don’t seem to matter. But every avalanche is made up of snowflakes.
Do what it is you need to do to maintain that little semblance of structure. Everybody I am lucky to have around me has been managing really well. Not because they are necessarily creating amazing works or being insanely productive, but because they are trying to get through every day as it comes. That doesn’t mean it’s with aplomb, or grace, or even without complaint. Get mad. Do what you need to do to get through this.
Anything you make in this time is a bonus, not a requisite. I have been putting pressure on myself during this time and I have to actively work against it. It is a mix of angst and boredom. The less you beat yourself up about it, the more likely it is you might actually make and finish something.
Be kind to yourself. This sucks. Unequivocally. Suffering is not on a scale, you don’t have to dismiss your feelings because you see other people have it worse. Doesn’t mean you need to focus on yourself alone, but secure your own oxygen mask first. If you don’t do that first, you cannot help.
If you can help, do so. If you are in a position to donate to food banks, make masks, offer support, there are so many ways to help. It might even be just signal boosting helpful information or something to keep people cheerful. Because honestly we all need boosting to get through this. I know the arts have been instrumental for me and many others in getting through this time, and it is not over yet. If you can, you must.
This is the one time I can say this but you are really not alone here. With mental illness, it can really feel like you are surrounded by glass and nobody else is in there, but right now we are all in the glass house. We all have an idea of what it is like, we can empathise as well as sympathise. Anybody I have spoken to, professionally or personally, is running through the same gamut of emotions. They’re weird and confusing and it’s easy to feel helpless and confused.
It is okay to grieve. This is a time of loss. Whether it is loved ones, projects, businesses, time, plans, hopes, dreams, most of us will have to deal with loss in this time. I am sorry for your loss. I wish I could offer more than words on a screen. I really do.
The one time we all need a bloody hug is the time we can’t have them.
Remember that there is love and kindness in this world, that every person has value, and that includes you. That we must work to preserve our humanity and values, that they are living concepts. All we can do in this time is keep trying our best, whatever that may be on the day.
I love you and I’m not going anywhere. I’m working on more stuff. Just released this video for Breathe, thanks to the incredible VOIMAA. I’m going to release in a couple of days, actually. I have some amazing people to thank for believing in me. It feels crass in some ways to post about releases in a pandemic. But I would rather release work that might be something that might amuse or entertain, at least alleviate some boredom. So expect that in the next couple of days.
Stay safe, we need you.