opinion

If you're feeling depleted this week, you're not alone. We're calling it the second-wave slump.

Do you feel it, too?

Exhaustion. Frustration. Sadness. Apprehension. A loss of motivation. A collective wince when you think of how gleefully we leapt toward the light at the end of the tunnel back in May, only to find ourselves here, just weeks later, staring into the mouth of another.

We were told this would happen; that our squashed COVID-19 curve would get out from underneath us more than once before a vaccine is available.

But it's still tough to watch the cases climb anew, to read lost human lives reported as numbers rather than names, and to see (or be!) Victorians placed under the kind of restrictions normally reserved for wartime.

It's heavy, the feeling that's settled upon us this week. A sort of second-wave slump.

Watch: A moment of gratitude for the unexpected upsides of wearing a mask. (Post continues below.)


Video via Mamamia

As Melburnians put it to the Mamamia Out Loud podcast:

"I'm tired. I'm just tired..."

"[It's] a sadness, a feeling of demoralisation..."

"Everyone is really run down... Even the most resilient people are finding that's been depleted..."

It's not quite like before.

Back in March and April, we were apprehensive, certainly. But there was a sense of determination and a sense of unity; a "we're all in this together" kind of resolve.

That seems to have dwindled somewhat in the face of, well, all of it: the ebbing and flowing of restrictions; the selfish folk who flout them; the job losses and reduced paychecks; the shop doors closed; the return to at-home learning; the celebrations cancelled and re-booked and cancelled again; the tough conversations with kids...

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As psychologist Amanda Gordon previously told Mamamia, it's little wonder we're fatigued when we've been running on adrenaline for so many months now.

"Collectively, we’ve been holding our breath, and we haven’t been living, in a way," she said. "'Normal' is changing, and people are finding it very difficult to adapt."

That change has happened faster and more substantially than most of us could have imagined.

Mamamia Out Loud chats to Melburnians about how they're feeling right now, then offers us all some light relief. (Post continues below.)


Just months ago, our state borders were little more than arbitrary lines inked on a map, only meaningful during footy season or for the occasional city-versus-city ribbing (Sydneysiders are snobs, says the Melbourne hipster). 

Now, they are walls, protected and patrolled. 

We peer over them, nervously, to see what's happening on the other side or, longingly, to catch glimpses of what might have been if it weren't for this or that.

But that's the paradox in this state-to-state division: in protecting ourselves, we're protecting us all. We are dividing so we can conquer.

There is simply no other choice right now; what's happening, must. So, let's take a moment to lift some of that weight off our shoulders and climb out of this slump.

"It’s time to breathe out and live life within our new parameters, which will actually be less exhausting," Amanda Gordon said.

"Allow yourself to adjust to a new way of being, rather than waiting until things are the way they were... Live in the moment, and find the joy in what you’re doing right now."

p.s. Victoria, we're with you. We love you. We'll see you soon.

If you're struggling with your mental health, or you're just having a difficult time and need to speak to someone, support is available.

Lifeline: Call 13 11 14
beyondblue: Call 1300 22 4636

Feature Image: Getty.

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