A few months ago, the writer, Anna Spargo-Ryan, spelt out exactly why women are so tired in an article she wrote for The Guardian.
And I have to agree with her. Because, for middle-aged women, I sense there’s a lot more to our dwindling energy supplies than a lack of oestrogen.
The emotional exhaustion caused by COVID and the back and forth emotional swing caused by lockdowns, has been heightened by the ongoing ignorance and sexism of men that our government refuses to address.
This latest outbreak has brought with it the inevitable disruption of border shutdowns, flight cancellations, and wedding postponements – and women, in particular, have stopped breathing again
It has reminded them, that no matter what our premiers say, we are nowhere closer to getting through the woods. And while I still believe that health must be our priority, this stop/start way of living is taking its toll – on family functionality, on our businesses and our mental health.
Putting our lives on hold with each new wave – with little to no warning – is starting to screw with our minds
Tara Healle wrote this post on Medium about why so many of us feel so tired at the moment. She pertains that what we are missing now are the protections the initial shock of the pandemic gave us.
She says, ‘In those early months, I, along with most of the rest of the country, was using “surge capacity” to operate – as Ann Masten, PhD, a psychologist and professor of child development at the University of Minnesota, calls it. “Surge capacity” is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters. But, natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different.’
“Natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different”
Which is the stage we find ourselves in now – a permanent stage of flux.
That sense of flux feels pertinent in relation to our government’s lacklustre response to the latest accusations of rape and sexual harassment levelled at its ministers. For most women, the way our PM has downplayed the plight of the victims feels like a kick in the teeth.
Sadly, it is beginning to look like the education of #metoo taught us very little. Women’s voices are still muted, and our charge for equal rights is still moving at a frustratingly slow pace.
It is hardly unsurprising that many of us are simply not coping with this latest lockdown
Before the pandemic, I thought I coped well in a crisis – apart from where blood is involved, as evidenced by my embarrassing reaction to my husband’s fall a few years ago, when the sight of the abrasions on his face had me running for the bathroom.
Hence, I was relatively calm when the virus first hit our shores. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I would go as far as to say I found something strangely reassuring about its sudden appearance.
Initially, the arrival of the virus provided some sort of validation for all the years I’d stressed about potential catastrophes
Hence, I didn’t panic or panic-buy – except at the bottle shop – and when our son was forced to return to live with us, the nature of my job changed, and I had to cancel Christmas – I took those changes in my stride.
Admittedly, Australia was in a fortunate position. We hadn’t experienced the impact of the virus to the extent of other countries. I didn’t have to homeschool my children or try to maintain some level of professionalism in my work from home.
But that novelty has now worn off, and the truth is that no one has truly escaped COVID’s wide reach
When we rang in the new year, I wasn’t surprised by the deterioration in my focus. But when February disappeared in a blink of an eye, and we now find ourselves in another crisis that hits women unfairly, the pressure seems endless.
The virus may have killed more men, but it has hit women the hardest
We are holding things together, but we are breaking. We carry the emotional and caring burden and as I struggle to find direction, I can sense that the shock or surge capacity that protected me at the outbreak of the virus has disappeared and I am transitioning into what feels like grief. Grief for normality, sadness I can’t see my family, and fear for the millions of women who continue to be vulnerable at this challenging time.
I don’t know when I will see my father or my siblings back in the UK again. It’s unlikely to happen, but there is a chance my father will die before I get back, that my nieces and nephews won’t recognise me and my old friends will have moved on.
My kids live 30kms away – i.e., too far away to give them a hug when they need it under the current restrictions
And they need a lot of hugs. They are lonely, struggling mentally and hurting.
My daughter is growing up in a time when women’s rights are moving backwards, and at twenty-six, she is already tired of defending them, or demanding her voice be heard – and that’s not right. Aside from one friend in her “bubble”, she is spending what should be “the time of her life” alone in her unit with Zoom calls her only interaction.
We’re not living through a world war, and not seeing our children for a few months hardly compares to the plight of women in Afghanistan, nevertheless, the uncertainty caused by this pandemic and the unrepentant discrimination towards women is slowly wearing us down.
Anyone else feeling like me at the moment?