COVID & Depression

*NOTE – This post is not a “woe is me” post, nor is it to solicit sympathy. It is merely to point out to others that someone might feel the same as them*

Let’s get COVID!

On July 16th, 2022, my favorite Premier League football team, Everton, came to Baltimore to play a pre-season match. I knew going into it that there was a really good chance that I’d catch COVID, but this was a once in a lifetime event that I really didn’t want to miss. We gambled, and lost.

I tested positive on Monday, July 18th. My symptoms were pretty minor: headache, joint pains, severe fatigue. Nancy had pretty much the same symptoms. There was a lot of DoorDash and NyQuil.

I wasn’t angry, pissed or upset. I sort of knew it was going to happen.

By the end of the week, we were both feeling much better. By the next week, I was back working in the shop. I finally went out in public with a mask, the first time since July 18th, and that was to the liquor store right up the road.

Having been cooped up for two weeks, we decided to finally go out for lunch on the 30th. That morning I’d had a scratchy throat, and mild headache, so I took a COVID test just to be sure.

It was positive.

Rebound ‘Rona

This time I was pissed. I was also a little bummed out, because it meant I couldn’t leave the house for another two weeks. I had shit I needed to do for my business, wood to buy, stuff to pick up, etc.

How did I get this a second time? The first time was due to an amazing weekend all about a once in a lifetime sports event. Was this time due to a random beer run at a local liquor store? I mean, I do love me some Founder’s All-Day IPA, but it’s not worth another COVID quarantine.

So we had to cancel our plans with friends again, and settle in for another two weeks of quarantine. Nancy tested positive on Monday, but her symptoms were much more mild than mine. I pretty much slept for the next week.

On Aug 12, we were out of quarantine, and went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday nights. Hey, we were cooped up for almost a month. On Tuesday, the 16th, I woke up and felt like I’d been hit by a bus.

Third time’s a charm

Yep, the rebound ‘rona was back. This time I was more than pissed. I started getting depressed.

I was too tired to do anything more than read a book, watch TV, or play video games. I couldn’t clean the kitchen, or make dinner. Nancy was working 9-10 hour days and then coming downstairs and cooking dinner for us both. Because I was too weak to stand for more than 5-10 minutes.

Our friends were off doing things that we would normally join them in doing, in the best part of the summer. Strangely, we’re having amazing weather here in Maryland in August, and I get to enjoy it by sitting on the couch.

We had tickets to see Anthrax, one of my favorite bands of all time, since I was a teenager, and we had to bail on the show. It wasn’t so much about the cost of the tickets, it was the fact that this stupid disease was forcing me to stay home.

Two of our best friends had plans to go to opening weekend of the PA Renaissance Festival, and invited us. Hell, they have a minivan and offered to drive us. If you know us, you know what a great goddamn deal this is for us! These are the same friends that we’ve gone to the MD Renn Fest for over 20 years. Because of me, we couldn’t go.

We got a text yesterday afternoon from the same friends asking if we wanted to join them at a local craft brewery, which we’ve met at many times, and again, we had to say no. Because of me.

Depression is a liar

Go back and re-read those last five paragraphs. Each example, taken by itself, would be trivial. All of them together, as they happened, was a snowball effect. I went to bed Thursday and Friday night before 9pm, not because I was tired, but because sleeping was better than being awake with my own thoughts.

I was depressed and I thought that not being able to go out of the house was my fault. Of course, that’s not true. It’s completely irrational. I knew that, yet those thoughts still influenced my feelings, and mental state. I needed to quarantine until my symptoms subside. I needed to listen to my body first and foremost, and get healthy. Unfortunately, depression sits in the back of your mind and tells you these little lies all the time like “Hey, if you weren’t sick, you could be out there having fun…sucks to be you!”, and you start to believe those lies.

Depression makes you think things are worse than they are

My COVID symptoms were mild in comparison to others’ symptoms. I know that, and can completely acknowledge that. I’m not saying my COVID experience was bad at all, because it wasn’t. The worst part of my COVID experience was how it affected my mental health, or more bluntly, how I let it affect my mental health.

Being cooped up in the house was the worst part of having COVID. I would never forgive myself if I went out in public and gave someone COVID. I’ve been a staunch supporter of the CDC recommendations (regardless of how many times they change), and will do my best to ensure the health of the general public. Having said that, I just want to go out to dinner, or to a pub to watch Everton!

In the grand scheme of things, not being able to go out to eat, visit with friends, or even go to the lumber yard (I’m a woodworker), isn’t the end of the world. Depression makes you think that stuff like this IS the end of the world. It makes these things snowball into bigger and badder things. If you can acknowledge this, and see that it is irrational, that’s one step closer to healing.

What’s next?

Why am I writing all this? I dunno…it was 5am when I started writing, and now I have half a YETI travel mug full of coffee in me, and I figured I’d see where this would go. I started thinking about writing this when I laid down to sleep last night. I thought about how depressed I’d been in the last few days, and then thought about WHY I’d been depressed.

Here it is, the 21st of August, and I’m finally feeling well enough to go down into the shop and start working again. I know from experience that I can’t work more than a few hours, or I’ll exhaust myself and put myself on the couch again all day tomorrow, but it’s a start.

Now it’s about 9am, and I feel much better after putting these words down. I’m sharing these thoughts so that hopefully someone out there who might be feeling the same way can read them and think “Holy shit, I’m not alone”. You’re not, and you matter.

Depression is a motherfucker. Once you acknowledge that it has a power over you, it starts losing its power over you.

I hope these words help just one person. If not, it’s helped me just to purge what’s been poisoning my head for the last few days.

Thanks for reading. Go hug your friends and family. That is, unless you have COVID, you filthy animals…

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