You may have noticed that there was no January newsletter, and this February one is coming right at the tail end.
Why? In part, because.... THIS IS ALL REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD.
It's hard for me, even though I know all about mental health. It may be hard for you, even though it "shouldn't be" or "others have it worse" or "I feel fine, really" or whatever else you've been telling yourself.
You can be grateful for your circumstances and still know how hard this is. This is unnatural. We are forcing our brains to live in ways that they are in no way, shape, or form designed for. Humans require a certain amount of socialization (even the introverts). We require transitions when we move from one realm of our life to another (like home and work). When something bad happens, we require time and space to process and recover - and when the bad is going on one year, that chronic stress without recovery can hurt the whole mind and body.
I have the privilege in my work life of seeing many, many different people from many walks of life, and I've seen them all struggle with this. I'm finding this reminder necessary because of how many people don't realize how many other people are feeling awful. (Even if you don't KNOW you're feeling awful, on some level you're probably feeling awful, sorry.)
I also know how difficult January and February are for mental health every year, pandemic or not. (October is a bad one too.) It surprises me every year to see how consistently SO many people across the board experience a significant dip in mood during these months, without fully realizing it. And that in a way is a silver lining: because THAT will pass, it does every year! No matter what happens, spring will come, and some things will just get better. It seems that will be true of the pandemic too. But for now, if it's just feeling really, really hard -- there's nothing wrong with you, you're not alone, and just see where you can give yourself some breaks. Write the Great American Novel next year, okay?