Pandemic apathy or…I think I’m getting too used to being by myself

Cancer plus pandemic has forcibly reduced my level of human contact over the last year. Whether it was due to government regulations or physical restraints from my illness, the effects were the same: less people were physically in my life at any one time. At first I fought it. I felt angry and restricted, especially when I was still healthy. Then when I got sick, I still felt resentful every time I had to be left behind when my family went somewhere or left out of a favorite activity. After awhile though, it started to feel easier to bow out of things, easier to just stay home and sit with my dogs, watch TV, and have no expectations. It started to become too comfortable. It is still too comfortable. Traditionally I am a social person who needs people, who savors life and interaction. Now, it seems like I have to force myself to leave the house and carry out any kind of responsibility. Now granted, I have the plethora of chemotherapy side effects like pain, neuropathy, and intense gastrointestinal distress that legitimately get in the way sometimes. That is true. However, I find myself wondering if I will still have reluctance to gather even after those excuses are out of the way. This is concerning. The words lazy, lackadaisical, and apathetic have never before graced my daily life vocabulary. I don’t really like them setting up residence now, but I am not sure what to do about it. I don’t really think that it is fear anymore that is keeping me inside. I think it’s something worse: apathy. I am just over it. I am just over all the panic and the restrictions, but at the same time I am out of the energy to discuss them, fight them, or act against them. What I need is a strategy for emergence that makes sense for me, my sanity, and my particular set of circumstances and limitations, not anyone else’s. Here’s hoping that I develop a good one and I hope you do too.

Dr. Katz

Is It Time To Be Thankful Yet?

So, Thanksgiving just passed. Did we all remember to be thankful, or did we get mired down in complaining about not seeing the usual volume of family members and bemoan the current status of the COVID pandemic? I think that a lot of people fell into the second category, if they are being honest. I admit that, even though I have realized all of my current blessings, I still fall prey to the diffuse and sometimes oppressive fatigue of depression that has followed me around for the last 9 months, despite all my best efforts. This begs the question then, when is it time to be thankful? The answer is: RIGHT NOW! For a lot of us, things aren’t really going our way and haven’t for a long time. The economy is tough. Family relations are strained. Family members have been lost. People are fed up and spend a little too much time like little powder kegs ready to blow at the slightest opportunity for conflict. On top of that, the capacity for empathy is not so great right now. I have to admit that, even my standards for thankfulness have had to be lowered a bit just to keep things in perspective and convince myself that I am not “reaching too high.” …lol. Still, I am above ground, I have a family to miss, I have my health ( most days), and I still get to do what I love and take care of people. Essentially, it is all I really need so you betcha I am thankful. Don’t let me kid you. I have ” days” like everyone else. I am still human. We are all feeling the struggle right now. It’s a normal human response to the sense of loss of control and freedom. But, just when you feel that whine coming on I urge you to think twice before you do it. There is always the possibility that someone is worse off than you.

Dr. Katz