Whether we like it or not, there's little doubt that the world having to cope with the Covid situation had had a major effect on people's mental wellness, not just our physical abilities to move around and do what we have been used to doing.
In our modern society, freedom of mobility is such an integral part of our lives that suddenly facing lockdowns and quarantines feels like being "fenced in." And even when we can move around, all the limitations and requirements before we can move around (from wearing masks to where we can meet people, and how many) somehow takes a good bit of the enjoyment we used to feel out of the equation.
Even those of use who are introverts and not all that social still feel the effect.
Perhaps I notice it more than most, because I am in the counseling and mental health field.
What's interesting is that my clients come to me and say that things "don't feel right" while at the same time insisting that they are not depressed. And actually, they are right. What many are experiencing isn't so much depression as it is a reduced ability to enjoy the things they used to enjoy.
"I went and participated in a dance class for the first time in a year," a client recently told me, " but it just wasn't as much fun as I remembered."
And otherwise there's nothing really wrong.
There's a mental health condition called Anhedonia, which essentially amounts to the inability to feel pleasure and joy. That is, in its severe clinical cases. The more I think about it, the more it seems like a mild version of Anhedonia is starting to affect many people... perhaps for no other reason than we have fallen out of the habit of doing enjoyable things.
Not because we are depressed, but because we have been prevented. Or — even if we haven't been prevented — the relationship between enjoyment and the "hassle factor" to have that enjoyment has substantially changed. It's just not worth the bother anymore.
My work is challenging these days. The situation we find ourselves in involves delving into psychological territory where we haven't previously found ourselves... at least not to this degree. To say that we "live in unprecedented times" may be true but it doesn't really help people to hear that.
What's more, when I realize that what someone most needs to hear is that things will "soon return to normal," I can't even offer that assurance because we don't actually know what we'll be returning to.
For now, the best we can do is find the small lights in the proverbial "tunnel," whenever they show themselves!
Thanks for reading, and Bright Blessings to all!
You are not alone!
(Graphic is our own)
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