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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

Resilience Fatigue

I haven't blogged for a few weeks. I've been feeling wrung out. There's a rumble of anxiety just below the surface of my awareness, that has dogged me. I’ve tried to lighten my schedule, telling myself that I’m tired from the book launch and all of the promotion. I’ve given myself to afternoon naps, thinking that the short hibernation would revitalize me. I’ve surrendered to tears, those weepy kind of tears that fill your heart and your eyes at the same time, alerting you to something wounded and tender nearby. But yesterday, I realized that the low rumble I’d identified as anxiety, was really anger, accompanied by a deep disappointment in humankind.

About a month after I got the COVID vaccine, I met with a friend for lunch. We were giddy at the prospect of being face to face. Still cautious, but feeling slightly invincible, we went someplace where we could wear our masks to go into the restaurant to order and then shed them outside. We sat in the warm, spring sunshine and had a conversation face to face that I didn’t want to end. We laughed and smiled, ate and celebrated what was for both of us, the first lunch out in over a year. At the time, I remember thinking, this is all going to be okay. We’ve turned a corner.

A couple of months later, the Delta variant was upon us, and I forgot about restaurants and lunches out. The extent of my social life, was once again relegated to the grocery store and Home Depot. I followed the news, waiting to hear if my vaccine still would keep me safe from getting sick. Although I'm strong and healthy, I'm also at the edge of seventy, and therefore possibly more vulnerable to illness. Still, I was sure that there was going to be a come together moment, a unification of, “hey, we’re all in this together.”

That moment never came. Instead I heard more and more crazy-ass shit about micro chips in the vaccine which would allow the government to track you. My state did away with all mask mandates, because in Texas, people are smart and responsible and don’t need the government telling them what to do when it comes to their bodies – unless of course you’re a woman in Texas. In that case, your uterus is owned by the state.

The summer limped along, with my continuing to take precautions, not only for myself, but for my community. I wouldn’t want to be the one who got the Delta variant, didn’t have symptoms, and then made someone else sick without meaning to. The sense of, this is all going to be okay, was short lived, though it didn’t have to be that way. We could have kept mask mandates in place for awhile. We could have had leaders who really pushed for the vaccine – who cared more about keeping people safe as opposed to how their choices effected their poll numbers. It always amazed me what those in power will do to hang onto power.

I’ve long believed that people are basically good; that for the most part we do care about our neighbor; we do care about helping each other. My anger, my sorrow, my damn resilience to the batshit crazy of political posturing in place of good public health policy, has exhausted me. I know that people want their freedom, the freedom to choose their health care preferences. But what about the freedom of those who are vaccinated? Why am I being held hostage by stupid government polices that do not promote health and well being. How did public health become so political?

We are all suffering from Resilience Fatigue. I’m tired of trying to be positive and keep a good attitude in the face of selfishness. I’m exhausted by the toxicity of politics that has to demonize and vilify the other side. I am heart sick that everyone I know is stressed at a hundred percent, because no matter what you are doing in your life right now, you are doing it against a backdrop of toxic politics and a pandemic, perpetuated by the un-vaxxed. So, yeah. I’m pissed. I’m pissed that you un-vaxers are impinging upon my freedom to live my life in a fluid way.

I’m going to go to a writing retreat at the end of October. The criteria to get in is that you must prove that you are vaccinated. I applaud that. I will happily wear my mask on the plane and in any public space to get there. And I will probably do a COVID test when I get home to make sure that I haven’t picked up the virus from some careless person who doesn’t give a damn about the common good. In the meantime, I look for ways to celebrate life: I journal and work on my writing—art is my refuge from the pain of this world. I'm going to try and keep up with this blog. I have two girlfriends that I see in person who make me feel alive and vital, just by their presence. And, I try to live life by example – one that shows caring and goodwill toward myself and most especially, others. When did caring about other people fall out of fashion?

Are you feeling Resilience Fatigue and what are you doing to take care of yourself?

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