2020 begun the legacy of pandemic blues. Clinical depression were the code words for the entire year. Hundreds of businesses and schools were closed or went virtual. Politicians vacillated between paralysis and issuing orders that closed school doors and emptied churches. Students were socially distanced and isolated. Amidst the differing pronouncements from public health officials and foreign commentators, there was a creeping certainty: therapists would be treating the pandemic blues. The pandemic winners were trying desperately to keep everyone from losing.
Depression was everywhere and could be seen in everyone. “Quarantine in place.” became a catchphrase that was endlessly intoned by television commentators and public health officials. “Social distancing” became an elaborate dance step that kept people separated. “Have you gotten tested yet?” was the first question in any polite conversation. “N95 masks” were an indicator of essential, yet unobtainable “personal protective equipment” In the absence of being with people, the use of pornography rose.
It is not surprising that isolated, lonely, unemployed, and forgotten families experience intense fear. Therapists were overloaded with referrals. The endless mandates and fear kept the pandemic blues going. When the suicide rates went up, the legacy was established and became a topic for historians.
Unfortunately, therapy by itself will do little to erase or replace the legacy. Living with confidence. Joy. Love. Those are the words that will start a new legacy of hope. As variants of the pandemic virus attack people, it will pose new challenges. We’ll see in future years on whether we can met them.