Brendan O'Connor: Alles wat ik doe is depressie voorkomenapril 15, 2020
Monday: I have come to realise that pretty much everything I do is aimed at preventing depression. The problem, as I see it, is that the way we are being asked to live now looks, from the outside, like depression, so your mind could easily be fooled into thinking you are depressed.
o, one day at a time, I build in all these little things to make sure I don’t get depressed today. And today is as far as we can plan on these things right now.
Compared to others, I have no great reason to be depressed. I have work, which gives me money and purpose for now, and I have my health, for now. So it seems self-indulgent to be thinking about getting depressed. But maybe that’s the depression speaking, the inner critic turning anger inwards.
The nappy-rash cream isn’t working on the raw knuckles anymore. I find some long-forgotten CBD ointment in the press. And you know what? It’s something of a miracle. I force the elder child to use it too. Her poor little hands are in tatters. It works. Then I wonder if this is a gateway drug. Am I a pusher? Am I teaching her that cannabis is the answer to life’s problems?
Walking back from People’s Republic Allowed Daily Exercise Break, the younger child sees people coming and cowers behind an electricity transformer box on the road: “Dad! There’s people!”
And I think: My work here is done. We have successfully taught her that to survive, you need to be terrified of people. I don’t know where they got it, but the two kids often turn their heads into the wall and put their head down and crooked arm up to cover their face when people walk past. It looks like something from The Handmaid’s Tale. Of course there’s more than a touch of The Handmaid’s Tale about many aspects of our lives now.
I’d say I’m on half a loaf of bread a day at this stage. I kid myself it’s because we are all supposed to be supporting local businesses. But really it’s because bread is one of the few comforts now. It really does make me happy in the short term. But I am trying to be careful with the Corona Kilos. I still use the metric system so I’m calling them the Pandemic Pounds. And I’d say I’ll pile on a fair few of them before this is over. When I bring the children out for Permitted Daily Exercise Break I try and get us to run a bit and get the blood up. It’s like walking dogs who’ve been cooped up in the house. I consider getting a stick to throw that they can run after.
I did my first run on the ‘Couch to 5K’ regime today. The new runners were looking at me, making me feel guilty, so I forced myself out. My wife is a runner, so she had said she’d take me out on the first one to encourage me. After about one-and-a-half minutes I had to tell her to go off and have a run by herself and I would figure out my own running. There are enough strains on marriages these days without running lessons too.
Apart from the family and some work interaction, I see two non-family members these days. One of them I walk with most days, Handmaid’s Tale-style. Two weeks in, we are managing to keep it civil and chatty, but there is an increasing sense that this walking together is not a choice, but some Beckettian/Flann O’Brien-style absurdist purgatory where we have the same walk for eternity. The music stopped and we got stuck together as close contacts who we trust are being careful, so we walk.
We discuss the only news story of the day most days. When that gets old presumably we will say things like, “We have been sent good weather”, and, “May the Lord open”.
I went full mad today. I had been getting a bit too deeply into medical research the last few days, but today I lost my marbles, ended up reading academic papers about clinical drugs trials and journal pieces about the politics of the pharmaceutical industry and the great lost and abandoned anti-virals. I notice I am babbling a bit and maybe shouting about things like DRACOs to people. I need to calm down and accept I will not find an answer here that no one else has found.
Meanwhile we watch the daily numbers more avidly than if they were Lotto numbers. The only virus I have now is a mutating pathogen of madness. Everyday it manifests itself differently, but the general theme is trying to find out more, to get some insight. For what? Maybe it stops me from getting depressed.
The days fill up surprisingly. By the time I’ve done my work, eaten some bread, taken Permitted Daily Exercise Break and then done my medical research (have to do my bit for the future of humanity; maybe I should apply for a grant) there isn’t much time for all the things I thought I might do.
I haven’t even looked at my Italian language app since this started. I set an intention to start it on Monday. Because learning some Italian now would be the ultimate act of hope.