You’re supposed to pronounce the title as if were a fancy French disease – malaaaiiize cooveeeed. Someone asks you what’s wrong, you say “Ahhh j’ai la malaise covid.” Symptoms? A strange blend of ennui and anxiety. Distorted passage of time. Weight gain. Fatigue. Fog… the list goes on.
What is it about this time? I am fortunate in that I don’t live in a geography that has had mandatory lock-downs and quarantine. Even now, the messaging about masks is somewhat unclear. They are suggested, or recommended. Not mandatory. But in spite of this, I have not gone very far from home, very often. And yet I am tired. When I passed 50 (okay, 45…) 10 pm became the new midnight. Now it’s 9 pm. But I don’t sleep. Not well. My activity level varies quite a bit. (Remind me to tell you about last summer’s epic paddle boarding accident that ended up in a torn medial ligament in my right knee. Now the left one is blown – epic kayak accident. Not walking very far right now, and maybe this is a sign to avoid water sports…) Suffice to say, I’ve run the diagnostics and other than depression and a serious contender in Fibromyalgia, there’s something about living on Covid Earth that drains me, drains us? Tell me I’m not alone.
Our Chief Medical Officer of Health (a brilliant doctor by name of Dr Deena Hinshaw – someone put her up for an Order of Alberta!) has made mention of ‘covid fatigue’. Some of what she was referring to was our collective tiredness with the restrictions, the slowed economy, the changes to travel, and so on. But there’s also the tiredness, the fatigue – the malaise – that seems to be gripping me, and many in my network. Maybe it’s a slightly-below-awareness sense that the world, for the most part, ground to a halt, and is not entirely sure how to start back up again. Maybe it’s the slower pace of things infusing our being and we just realized just how damned exhausting life was back in endless-consumption capitalism land? Maybe this is a grand experiment in existential dread.