365 Days of Quarantine: Loneliness, Love, and Lessons Learned

"For me, the tools that I relied upon to feel well often looked less like treatment and more like the ingredients that make up a full, joyful life: the friends I saw for long, intimate dinners; the work events that made me feel purposeful and accomplished; even the affirming gym I went to in the mornings..." - Sam Lansky, Time, June 2020

When journalist and author Sam Lansky (Broken People) candidly wrote about his emotional experiences living in lockdown, he was three months into the pandemic, a global event that has now affected every human being in existence. Back then, it was reported that 40% of Americans said their mental health had been negatively affected by COVID-19. Last March, the call volume to the national hotline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services jumped nearly 900% higher than the same month in 2019. Back then, people were already hitting walls, particularly those who lived alone and only had their personal demons to keep them company, those who had certain luxuries stripped away, and those who lived in a bubble of self-obsession that only grew thicker, more impenetrable, the longer the lockdown lingered.

As we approach the one-year mark of this cataclysmic moment in history, one must ask: Where are those people now? How are they doing 365 days later?

The question “How are you?” carries so much weight these days. You can’t really small talk your way around it in the usual way we’ve been socially conditioned to do. Those three little words now seem to be a more sincere expression of care and interest. And as someone who identifies as a member of the aforementioned groups, I can only answer for myself: I am relatively fine. This is a response I frequently give to those I see often and regularly talk to as well as those with whom I have less frequently communicated. 

But if we're really going to get into it, I'll have to elaborate...

For more, check out my piece on Medium.


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