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2020itis

Posted Over 1 Year ago by Xhin

This is a term I came up with to describe the personal issues and behaviors that appeared within the last year. I think it's a direct consequence of the pandemic/lockdowns and very indirect responses to it like the large-scale civil unrest of last summer.

People are stressed for a variety of reasons, on edge and paranoid, feel attacked, isolated and unsafe. This then causes interpersonal tensions and strife, which reinforces those feelings on the other side.

I don't think we're that different from each other. We may have very different political or policy positions or see things differently, but in the end we're all internalizing the same external madness and coping with it the best we can.

If any of this rings true, what ways has this affected you, and what are your own best strategies to cope with it?

Personally, my own carefully hidden issues have escaped and magnified, and I feel so out of control over my own life that I feel a strong urge to take tough stands just to restore some sense of agency. I find it hard to trust people and their intentions and feel the need to hide things important to me.

Some of the ways I've found to cope are taking extended breaks from the internet and working on long intensive projects. With family or friends playing games competitively or *especially* cooperatively helps to release some of the tension. I've also found it helpful to work on myself emotionally or spiritually since those issues can't exactly be locked away right now.

What are your experiences like?

There are 12 Replies


2020, I think is fair to say, was nothing less than traumatic. I've personally rotated between living maybe the healthiest lifestyle ever (April-June; January-February) and spiraling into some of the unhealthiest, depression-driven crap (pretty much the entire period I was on unemployment without additional assistance and the stress of the government, the banks, and employers being like "Yeah, tough shit if you lose everything.")

I've found that I've become much closer with my family, but more distant with my friends. Not really sure what that's about. (I suspect a smidge of it is some unhealthy bitterness that I have from being increasingly excluded over the past few years given my proximity and work schedule, culminating in a pandemic where everyone is limiting their social activity even more than adulthood already requires, and seeing everyone having someone while I'm pretty much alone with a cat that looooves pouncing on my feet as I walk around.)

I have *also* found that closer to the "other side" as we are, the experience of knowing that without my parents, I'm fucked no matter what I do has deeeefinitely made me make decisions I kinda regret, especially with money. It's funny. I feel a lot of like, my grandmother's generation that survived the Great Depression save everything - from money to old wrapping paper - because of that experience. I seem to go the opposite where the *moment* I have a little bit of money, my brain is just like, "Well, might as well spend it now because lord only knows when you'll have money again. So if you want that soundbar, might as well get it now. And I mean, if this happens again, it's not like that $200 is gonna keep the house anyway, so what difference does it make?" (This mentality is something I notice popping up a lot when I struggle more with depression and while I haven't really let it get completely unmanageable (like, I'm not swimming in credit debt I'm not going to be able to pay off for a while), it is definitely something to keep an eye on.

But I'm also preparing for the impending death of my father, which no matter how long you know it's coming, doesn't make it easier. It's leaving every gathering with "did I do or say enough so that I won't feel guilty if that's the last thing I say to him?" (The answer is, of course, always "no." You will never feel like you did or said enough.) So even when we're vaccinated and can do more things safely, without worrying about carrying or transmitting the virus that has killed over half a million Americans in under a year, it was always going to be a brutal follow up year.

Since I'm spending so much of my time alone anyway, I did take up hiking toward the end of the fall last year, and I quite enjoyed that. So hopefully as weather warms up and I manage to get some lottery spots for the vaccine, that sort of meditative experience will be helpful. (And also, I'll finish this stupid YouTube project involving copious amounts of Ben & Jerry's will also be beneficial for my physical health and subsequently mental.)

Haven't really had much in the ways of estranged relationships. Hasn't been a ton of strain (except from my ex, but that situation is a clusterfuck and that estrangement is based on a number of external forces). Mostly just, expedited adulthood "we just sorta stopped texting..." dissipations.

Also very much aware that there are plenty of ways I am currently *unaware* of how this whole experience has affected me. Keeping an eye out for weird little things.

Over 1 Year ago
Jet Presto

I'm not including 2021 when I say this. 2020 was only the third worst year of the last 4. The best by far being 2019.

Over 1 Year ago
IKM~~

I find it hard to trust people and their intentions and feel the need to hide things important to me.

I am pretty much in the same boat, but to be fair this was slightly before the pandemic before I felt this way (as I was burned previously). I was transparent in the past, and that wind up burning me so I am not so much that way anymore.

Lately my temperament has been in the shitter, and I am not exactly sure why. I suspect it's a combinations of my own feelings and getting annoyed at people in large for behaviors I keep seeing over and over (wishing we could come together and change it but sadly realizing I am being idiot as change doesn't come unless people want it bad enough). No, this isn't "Holier than thou" because I suspect to the same things as everyone else; I came to this conclusion when investigating this for other people (as well as myself).

I've taken up meditation to help try to find way to be able to cope with difficult emotions as I have a tendency to downplay my own legit feelings (and the pandemic has made it somewhat worse) or outright ignore bad feelings because "I don't like them". Again, this behavior was made worse by the pandemic.

As far as relationships go, not much as changed. I try to maintain relationships with my family (remaining family anyway) and friends (despite my tendency to go off and stop contacting people for days on end).

Over 1 Year ago
Forte Lambardi

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Over 1 Year ago
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Over 1 Year ago
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I too had a series of bad years before 2020, which has definitely been the worst yet. I have a series of depressing december posts here that look forward to the new year as a fresh start, with the 2020 one the most ironic in retrospect.

The absolute worst part of 2020 was the inability to visit my best friends or elderly family for fear of spreading the virus around. These form the basis of my emotional support structure so this was uniquely bad. I also left a big piece of my prep toolkit at my best friend's house for six months -- a small inconsequential thing, but with how crazy the year was going contributed to making me feel less secure.

Despite everything happening here recently, 2021 is definitely shaping up to be a better year than the long string of bad ones. As Jet Presto said, 2020 was nothing short of traumatic, but having it be *shared* trauma has made me feel significantly less isolated and emotionally deviant. Additionally having real and tangible trauma (instead of bad luck + internalized bullshit) has made it easier to heal from.

Lately, I've found myself moving away from the ingrained habit of hiding things for fear of being burned. I've been trying to be more emotionally open with people, even those I don't trust. I've also found it a lot easier to forgive and recognize that people fuck up, mainly because I've also fucked up.

One thing that's *definitely* different (and is probably driving the other changes) is that I'm able to set boundaries and stand by them. I've had a tendency of taking on responsibility that isn't mine in order to smooth tensions or prevent conflict, and thankfully this is dissipating.

I still don't feel in control of my own life in any meaningful way, but I've actually accepted this and am working to act outside of that mentality (or its reverse).

I've always had trust issues, but 2020 has made them *significantly* worse. I also feel way less capable of acting outside of that framework. There's no light at the end of the tunnel here yet -- paranoia is still at an all-time high. Still making bad and reactive decisions. I'm not even sure *how* to work on this yet.

I may share more later.

Over 1 Year ago
Xhin
Sky's the limit

Dang, now I'm gonna watch Blade Runner 2049 tonight...


But I think SOH is right in that it kinda wasn't really *just* 2020. I think things had been soooo stressful for years before it, almost getting progressively worse. So 2020 really just sorta capped off a really bad stretch in a really awful fashion that - if you were somehow able to hold it together - it probably broke you way more.

It's just sort of a bummer because 2020 was widespread shared trauma, but I don't expect there to be widespread healing to come from it. If there's one thing we're not good at, it's collectively processing shared trauma and making good decisions in the aftermath. Which just makes it even worse. Even if 2021 is technically off to a generally better start.

Over 1 Year ago
Jet Presto

...but I don't expect there to be widespread healing to come from it. If there's one thing we're not good at, it's collectively processing shared trauma and making good decisions in the aftermath.

Agreed. Though with the polarization that has been going on it makes it hard for individuals (not necessarily closed-minded ones) to look outside their bubble to see that folks are in the same boat, and we can overcome the problems together.

Meditation has also taught me that looking outside that bubble to find others in the same level of stress you are in helps you realize that you're not the only one in the world with the problem, and people from different walks of life are more connected than initially thought.

Over 1 Year ago
Forte Lambardi

There are going to be some lasting effects that will be surprising; nobody will predict that they will last.

I have not come up with any way to cope with the natural situational disruptions of this shit.
But just knowing it’s situational instead of neurogenic has helped.

I read what the OP and the previous responder wrote and found lots that rang true and nothing that rang false.
I don’t have much to add, but I’m glad this thread is here.

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

Ironically, 2020 has not been so bad of a year for me. I no longer have to drive in the office to work, so I can work and take care of things from home. Not having to pay gas or eat out so often, I've saved a lot of money. And no commute/proper "getting ready in the morning" means work-life balance is incredible. My sleep schedule, though, has gone out of whack. I'm up until 2-3am and waking at 10-11, crawling out of bed to clock in and take care of issues. I can't say this lifestyle is the healthiest.

I miss the beach, the park, the mall, the fair. There were a lot of awesome things I used to do every month, but for 2020 I cut them out. Just doing errands, now. My mother passed away a couple years ago, so 2020 was my first full year without her. I really miss her... I'll be going about my business, and then suddenly I just remember something my mom would do or say, and then it all comes back. It's not as bad now, I'm pretty much used to the loss and trauma at this point.

2020 is also the year I came to terms with being a furry! Watched lots of videos, invested in a drawing tablet, and in the same vain I also found Nintendo again after not really engaging for like 5 years. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but I also kind of gave up game dev stuff. I realize now my options are limited being just one person. If I want to build a portfolio and join a dev team that's always an option in the future, especially if things go south with my current job. But I realized I'm spoiled in my current position. I don't have to work that hard, and even the difficult stuff I've done for a long time now, so it's not that difficult anymore. I don't just want to coast through life, but I have no need for more money, and plenty of time on the weekends. I'll try to get more art in and share it here ;)

Over 1 Year ago
mariomguy

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Over 1 Year ago
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Thanks. It's OK, I'd honestly rather not harp on it. That is actually something I told myself, it's a good thing my mother didn't have to live through 2020. She went out at the right time, so to speak.

Also, no matter how heated my debates get, I always try to debate the issues, not the person.

Over 1 Year ago
mariomguy

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