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There’s Nothing to Do — and at the Same Time Too Much

·333 words·2 mins
Mental Health Survival

“I’m getting really sick of this,” a friend confesses.

“I know what you mean,” I say. Because I do.

Neither of us have been out in ages. The cabin fever is real. True, my friend has snowy winter to contend with — seeing as they still live up North (where I’m from). Me, I moved to the South a few years ago for work reasons, so wintry days happen, but the ground never fully freezes. Snow is rare and when it happens, it doesn’t stick around for more than a day.

And really, anything wintry is a freak accident of a day. It hits you like a mistake, not a season.

So she has double cabin fever. But I’m still feeling a bit like Rapunzel myself — stuck up high, staring out of a window, my hair growing longer and longer.

“I think the hardest part,” she continues, “is how there’s nothing to do. And not only that, at the same time that there’s nothing really to do, there’s also too much.”

I nod, sitting in my apartment hundreds of miles away from her. “You’re bored, but you still have a million little things to do. You still have to work, clean, and cook. The mundane stuff doesn’t go away just because you’re stuck inside during a pandemic.”

“Exactly,” she says. “And at the same time, I feel like I can’t do anything that _really _matters.”

“Oh c’mon,” I tell her, “you’ve donated to food banks. You’ve voted.” I feel a little defensive, since we’re doing the same things. “I know it never feels like enough,” I continue, “and maybe it isn’t enough. But it does matter. And no one can do enough on their own, so it’s not fair to be so hard on yourself.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she says — and boy does that give me a shot of sorely needed dopamine. It makes my body feel like I accomplished something, a feeling that is in short supply these days.


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