Chinese Year of the Black Dog?

2020. The year of Covid-19, of lockdowns, of ignoring lockdowns to travel half the length of the country to stay in one of your homes, of loosening lockdowns even though more than 300 people are still dying EVERY DAY.

Every day that passes becomes increasingly soul-destroying. Instead of offering hope, some hint at a light at the end of a very dark and very long tunnel, each new day brings fresh hellish revelations: the British government making even more of a dog’s dinner of handling the pandemic than we ever thought possible; the US government stoking racial tensions by threatening to deploy the army on those protesting about the apparent murder of a black man by a white police officer; copycat protests breaking out over here in a misguided show of solidarity with our American cousins; US police using rubber bullets against their own citizens, most of whom are demonstrating peacefully.

Will the madness ever end?

It doesn’t look like it. I’m terrified to put on the news during these remarkable times, there is no way of knowing what fresh depths we are plumbing each new day. Politics here (and around much of the world, it must be said) are at an all-time low. And just when you think we’ve hit rock bottom, they pull something even more ridiculous out of the bag.

It’s just so, so depressing – literally. I have begun to struggle more and more with my mental health over the past few years. The Black Dog has always been there, for as long as I can remember, but has usually been sitting quietly in the corner, minding its own business.

Chinese Year of the Black Dog

But over the past couple of years, it has started to take in interest in my day-to-day life. In terms of the Chinese New Year, it’s fair to say that 2020 is the Year of the Black Dog. I like to think that I’m as multi-cultural as they come, but hopefully, I will be forgiven for not celebrating this particular ‘festival’.

In terms of the Chinese New Year, it’s fair to say that 2020 is the Year of the Black Dog. Click To Tweet

I’m used to staying at home, having worked largely from home for the past 5 years or so. I’m not the most sociable of people at the best of times, but the lockdown and social distancing have really made a negative impact on my mental health. I feel so claustrophobic. I suspect it’s more that fact that the freedom to choose when and where I go out that’s eating at me – were I free to come and go as normal, I probably would still choose to remain at home, or at least mostly at home, on my own.

Motivation? What motivation?

I seem to have lost what little motivation I normally possess. Many people have embraced lockdown to throw themselves into ambitious and long put-off DIY projects; or ‘spring’ cleaning; or a major garden overhaul. Me? Nope, I just can’t face it.

Each day has become a monotonous trudge, counting down the hours and minutes until I can go back to bed. I wake, come downstairs, feed the dog and make a coffee. I fire up the laptop, check the news (why?!) and social media. I check the news again. Then social media. Then I make another coffee. And so it goes on.

Almost zero productivity. Just depressing myself further by reading news reports of death, civil unrest, more death, millionaires helping out other millionaires by bending (or breaking) rules, the tried-and-tested politics of distraction and obfuscation to confuse the gullible population continuing to play out on a daily basis – plus ça change and all that.

Stop the world – I want to get off!

I really do hate what this country – what this world – is becoming. As a species, we seem to be going backwards, not progressing, at an ever-increasing rate of knots. And all the time, the majority of people are too stupid (unwilling is being too kind) to see it. Or, if they do see it, too stupid to realise what’s happening around us.

The coronavirus has presented us with the perfect opportunity to try and reset, to tackle inequality, climate change and other major issues facing humanity as we seek to return to what is being called the ‘new normal’. Except it won’t be, will it? It’ll be the ‘old’ normal where nothing really changes – lip service is paid to the problems, hands wrung, serious faces and gravely nodding heads.

But in reality? The rich will get richer, the poor get poorer and all the time, the BAME members of society will get the worst of all worlds. Words really do fail me on how we treat those less fortunate and those who are ‘different’ to our ingrained ideals of white domination. Welcome to the capitalist West – every (white) man for himself. I hate this, yet we all know it will carry on as normal as the next election cycle comes around.

Epic self-interest

The overwhelming majority of politicians are never interested in the long-term, in the future for our children and theirs. All they care about is doing what it takes to cling to power and to ensure they are returned by their gullible voters the next time the ballot papers are printed.

Please forgive the negative tone of this post, but I’m in a dark place at the moment and feel I have nothing to look forward to, no hope to cling to that things will start to get better. All I can see is things getting worse. Division and hate are the order of the day. Every day. People are turning against each other so easily.

For every Captain Sir Tom Moore there are a million Boris Johnsons or Donald Trumps, people who care only for themselves through their grotesque and narcissistic politics of division, xenophobia, racism and isolationism.

Where is the hope, the optimism, the love in that?

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