23 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not


Dear Diary,

Am I staying sane, though, in this time that’s not? I mean, I guess I ask myself that question even when we’re not in the middle (at the beginning?) of a global pandemic. That’s part of the fun of monitoring clinical depression.  It comes in disguise at the best of times. And by “part of the fun,” Diary, I mean decidedly not fun at all. Because depression affects the brain and processing and discernment — because depression lies and says “you’re just like this,” “this isn’t depression; it’s who you are,” and “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” — the Depressed Human is often not aware she’s depressed at all. So I spend a lot of time wondering, trying to stay on top of it, trying to learn the symptoms, even though the symptoms are always changing

And now? In this Bizarre New Place? I’m still trying to monitor myself, but I’m not sure what’s “normal” in the New Normal and what’s “abnormal,” as in “not OK.”

I’m up and down and back and forth and living in a state of suspended animation, but aren’t we all? 

I feel alternately fine and like I can’t quite breathe, but doesn’t everyone?

I’ve had the blahs the last couple days. The blergs. The ho-hums and the mundanes. And I mostly think those feelings are Just Part of It right now. But, also, I wonder if I’ve begun the depression slide. 

I have an Impossible Task right now. That thing that, if I would just do it, would take me 10 minutes. Maybe seven. It’s not hard. It just requires a modicum of effort. I have to look up an order number. I have to write that down. I have to package a return and figure out how mailing things is happening these days. And it’s less that I don’t want to so much as I can’t bring myself to do it. I can’t muster the motivation or energy. Which is a classic sign of depression. But also a classic sign of resisting change. 

So, in between bouts of food productivity — my people still want to eat, no matter how blergy I feel, the monsters — I’ve done things that don’t need to be done. By far the weirdest was ironing my dish towels because I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE.

Are abrupt personality changes a sign of depression? Probably. But also, Doing Weird Shit that’s out of character is a sign of Being Quarantined. So, see? It’s all a mystery.

Honestly, though? I don’t think this is depression. 

The sun appeared for a couple hours this afternoon after a gloomy, rainy couple of days. More a typical Oregon April than we’ve had thus far. And that mini blast of light beckoned me outside where I pruned my lilac bush and made bouquets for folks who wander by our house, and I felt… happy.


Utterly at peace. 

The sun is gone again, hiding behind clouds heavy with rain. And I’m back at my kitchen table with the blahs. The Impossible Task still remains. It won’t get done today. But there’s a bunch of lilacs sitting next to me now, fragrant and full, and I’m a tad less blah than I was before.

I’ll take it.

With love,




P.S. Here’s the full pic of the kitchen. You can see the part of the table I cleared to take the Pristine Pic of the lilacs.


P.P.S. I’m not sure you can tell from this photo, but this little girl’s nose is on the mend, poor thing.

P.P.P.S. But ALL DAY LONG she yips at the cat whose favorite pastime it is to MOCK HER with his presence on top of the fridge. 

I swear to God, if it’s not the kids griping at each other, it’s the animals.


At least they’re cute.

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3 responses to “23 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not”

  1. Lilacs…

    When I was growing up they meant it was FINALLY warm enough to escape to the Outdoors where I could wander for hours… and when I was a little older, days, without anyone noticing I was underfoot. Or missing. Or whatever.

    We had a ginormous (yes that’s a word Because I’m a writer and I say so) bush out front, that stood as tall as the 2 story house, and the limbs had grown to 6 inch girth. I took refuge so often in that tree, as soon as the leaves were thick and green enough to provide cover. There was one branch in particular that bent just the right way to make a sort of seat. Perfect for lounging and reading and the slight discomfort of sitting in the crook of a narrow, hard tree branch was nothing to the discomfort of being cooped up indoors with adults who drank too much and shouted too much.

    Lilacs have always meant freedom and safety to me and I will love them forever, even the small bush that grows out in front of our house now and is no where near big enough to provide shelter, yet. Maybe one day.

  2. I’m here beside you. Darkness wants to keep us guessing “is this what everyone is going through or just me?” Let me tell ya, that’s what it wants – to make us doubt ourselves, to keep us guessing, make us off balance while wondering where it will attack next. I just stay vigilant, and don’t question if my sad day is b/c of the world or b/c of the darkness. I just try to find the light and hold on. Here – *flicks a bic lighter* have some light! 🙂

  3. My mum always says it’s not depression if it’s driven by genuinely rubbish events or circumstances. I have to disclose that she has no medical qualifications. You’re probably just reacting in a normal way but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take extra good care of your mental health. Xo

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