Definitely not just you David. As I touched upon in my newsletter
Although I continued my sporadic reflections on space, I failed to find the time and mental space to bring together any extended thoughts and ideas.
Emily Baron Cadloff explains that the reason for our ‘fog’ is that our brains are working so hard in coping with the current crisis.
Nancy Sin, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, says that in stressful situations like this, there are physiological responses in our bodies. “Our stress hormones increase. We prepare to fight or flee,” said Sin. And as this pandemic continues and isolation drags on, “we’re having a lot of these physiological adaptations, each time we feel stressed, each time we feel worried. And over time, these repeated hits, physiologically and psychologically, can accumulate.”
That accumulation is called the allostatic load, essentially the damage on our bodies when they’re repeatedly exposed to stress. And while it feels like I’m doing nothing most days, my brain is still dealing with the anxiety and strain of this pandemic. I’m exhausted not because my body is working hard, but because my brain is.
Alternatively, James Hamblin questions whether everyone is depressed?
Feelings of numbness, powerlessness, and hopelessness are now so common as to verge on being considered normal. But what we are seeing is far less likely an actual increase in a disease of the brain than a series of circumstances that is drawing out a similar neurochemical mix. This poses a diagnostic conundrum. Millions of people exhibiting signs of depression now have to discern ennui from temporary grieving from a medical condition. Those at home Googling symptoms need to know when to seek medical care, and when it’s safe to simply try baking more bread. Clinicians, meanwhile, need to decide how best to treat people with new or worsening symptoms: to diagnose millions of people with depression, or to more aggressively treat the social circumstances at the core of so much suffering.
I remember when the idea of social isolation was mooted, people were listing all the things they could do with the extra time and space. The reality has been something vartly different. Instead it is a time to be grateful for health and safety.