Surviving 2020 – Trying to make the best of a shitshow

So 2020 has been a funny old year so far, not funny haha per se but more funny in the sense of being fucking weird. I’ve been working from home since March because of the whole Covid 19 pandemic and it’s been a weird time. I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve worked the whole time so I’ve at least had some structure to my days for the most part, though it’s going be weird when I can go back into the office and realise I can’t just live in shorts or jogging bottoms anymore and just rolling out of bed whenever and logging in won’t be as possible at that point. Honestly I think still being at home with my parents has been useful as at least it’s meant I’ve had someone to talk to on a daily basis which has definitely been advantageous.

I’ve gone more or less full bag of shite at this point, I’ve not had a haircut since last year so my hair is starting to get pretty long now, no idea how long I’ll keep it for but I have no intention of going to a hairdresser as it stands. I think it’s now the longest it’s been in about 20 years so my curiosity currently has the better of me, combined with there being no need for me not to look a state. I’ve also just basically let my facial hair grow, which given my inability to grow anything that isn’t patchy as fuck has gone about as well as you’d expect. I’ve had to trim it back a couple of times to stop the consuming of food being any messier than normal but when combined with the hair is quite look. 

My mental health surprisingly has been pretty good for the most part, obviously the whole situation hasn’t been ideal but as an introvert who generally isn’t always the most sociable I’m basically largely in my element not having to actually see people, I’ve kept in touch with my friends and family so that’s helped. My depression did get particularly bad in August, I can’t say it was a huge surprise and I’ve thankfully got things I can do that at least help keep my brain occupied with other things, and it’s eased off now thankfully though I’m seriously considering counselling again just to be on the safe side as while I feel ok at the moment, when it got bad I was feeling some old behaviours creeping back in and like I was starting to push people away, though on the plus side I was at least not doing it in the aggressive way I would in the past, it was more of a case of me actively trying to remove myself from people I’d talk to a lot.

I feel like part of the reason for the depression hitting as hard as it did was the whole working from home thing, more the just seeing the same four walls more or less every hour of every day which has just become frustrating. The fact that I’ve not been sleeping very well since the start of all this isn’t helping either as I’m pretty much constantly tired and by the time I finish with work I have no motivation to do anything other than just veg and watch or play something. Realistically I need to motivate myself to get out and go for a walk or something and just decompress and separate work from downtime a bit. I’m also feeling seriously burnt out at the moment as I’ve not really had any proper time off, I had a week off work in July but it was still spent being stuck at home so again no really separation from what has become the norm. On the plus I’ll be going down to Newquay next month all being well, so that should be nice as I’ll be able to potter round at my own pace and just do what I want to do and go exploring or just chill out and do whatever which feels needed right now.

I’ve also found myself recently feeling far more emotional than I have in a very long time, it seems to have come about after a specific scene in a tv series hitting with an emotional gut punch that got an incredibly raw reaction from me and very nearly had me sobbing. Since then I’ve had a variety of moments that have made me well up which has been unexpected. It’s been when reading, watching things, playing games and even when listening to specific pieces of music and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. On the upside it’s kinda reassuring to know that I’m not a robot and am capable of emotional reactions to things beyond rage but it’s also a little scary as it’s not something I’ve really been used to over the last 20 or so years. I think that’s another reason for considering counselling, I feel like I want to try and make sense of it and try to cultivate it almost as it feels like it’s something that’d be beneficial to me in the long run.

In terms of what I’ve being doing to keep busy I’ve watched alot of TV shows on the various streaming services. Highlights have been getting to rewatch the Mandalorian and Cobra Kai on a huge TV where I’d seen them on a much smaller screen before. She-Ra and the Owl House were both absolutely fantastic, with the former being something I’ve written about at length and the latter reminding me of Gravity Falls which is never a bad thing. New seasons of Bosch, Lucifer, After Life and Altered Carbon have been hammered in quick time and I’ve started the new season of The Boys recently though the weekly release schedule is irritating. It’s been nice to finally get round to watching things like Castlevania and Kipo and trying new things like Space Force too. There’s still loads I want to watch, the intention is to watch Bojack Horseman and the Dragon Prince next as I’ve had them both recommended to me by friends. I’ve also been keeping up with Last Week tonight which is always incredibly informative while being very funny.

I’ve also watched a shit load of films, I’ve been trying to make a point of watching films I’ve not seen before so that I’m not just watching films I’ve seen loads of times before. It’s been a good call for the most part as it’s given me a chance to watch films that I’ve bought at various points when they’ve been cheap and just not bothered watching them, and also a good chance to finally watch stuff on my watchlists on the various streaming services I use. This has worked out pretty well as I’ve watched some good stuff and some truly terrible stuff which has been fun to then rant about afterwards. What’s been nice has been kinda re-discovering anime, I hadn’t watched any for absolutely ages, I always keep any eye out for interesting stuff to get and then never actually bothering with it. Well I’ve watched a few of those films lately and they’ve stuck with me way more than I was expecting so I’m making a point of re-watching stuff I’ve not seen in a while and also trying to be a bit more active in looking for new films that might be of interest.

I’ve read alot, initially it was comics as again I had a few books that I’d not gotten round to reading, there’s been stuff like Lumberjanes which I prioritised after watching She-Ra due to the Noelle Stevenson link and a shitload of Batman stuff as starting points and I’ve bought other comic books and graphic novels that have looked interesting as I figure I’ll actually get round to them as things are. I’ve also read a butt load of books on my kindle, most have been spin offs of games tv shows that I’m interested in but I’ve read some autobiographies too. The highlight book wise though was Daisy Jones and the Six which was recommended to me by a friend, it’s not something I’d normally read but it was excellent so I’d definitely listen to recommendations in future and actually the next book I read, after the one I’m currently on, will be another recommendation called The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I’ve also hammered through a manga series in the last couple of days which has been interesting as I’d seen the film that had be made that was based on it and wanted to see how much of the series made it into the film.

There’s been quite alot of gaming too. I’ve played a fuck ton of Animal Crossing to the point where I’ve hit well over 400 hours at this point which is fucking ridiculous whichever way you look at it. I’ve also finally gotten round to playing Assassins Creed Origins, which was great, and the Final. Fantasy 7 remake which was as enjoyable as I’d hoped it would be. I think the biggest things that’s helped keep me sane has been the online gaming with my friend, it’s been good to be able to keep in contact with them while playing as the chatting shit, bickering like dickheads and just generally having other people to talk to has been very helpful for me. We’ve also played a fairly large selection of games, some of which have been fun and some of which have been utterly fucking awful. Sea of Thieves and Golf With Your Friends are the games that tend to be played the most, and Forza Horizon 4 too which is a surprise as I don’t tend to enjoy driving games that much on account of me being want at them as a rule.

I’ve done a bit of writing too, I did a couple of blogs quite early on and I’m currently working on about 5 other blog type things where I’ve had a few bolts of inspiration and have cracked on while I’ve been feeling motivated as I know I can be really damn fickle with that and it’ll start to feel like a chore and I don’t want the when I write as I want to be able to enjoy it as I see it as a bit of an outlet for me. I think the weirdest thing is that I’ve started revisiting an idea I had for a story back when I was about 16, it was just a fan fiction type thing that followed on from a game I love but written a fair bit though it was a small fraction of the story I had in my head. It’s been kind of fun re-reading it now and seeing what I’d change now that I have different story telling ideas in my head from where I’ve learned new narrative techniques over the years, to the point where I’ve thought about how I’d change things up and how I’d mitigate the fact that I’ve always been shot at writing dialogue. It may be something that I gradually start working on again, the interest is definitely there at least.

I’ve been semi glad of work while all this has been going on to be fair, as I’ve been working all the way through. It’s been hectic and hard work as we seem to have been busier than we were before this all started but it’s also made sure that my days have some semblance of structure to them which has been necessary as I remember what I was like when I was on gardening leave and off work for 3 months, I basically became nocturnal and had way too much time with my own thoughts which can be less than ideal for me. I have made the mistake of not really taking any time off which meant that when I got to July meant I’d run myself into the ground which wasn’t helped by the issues I’ve been having sleeping the whole time. A week off helped but the fact that I couldn’t get away and have a proper break wasn’t so good. I’ve got a week off in October as it stands and I’m aiming to go away to Newquay for a week so hopefully that will help me recharge a little.

I think the sleep issue is the biggest thing I need to sort at the moment, I’m not getting anywhere near enough at the moment and it’s pretty shit, I’m having trouble getting to sleep and then having a broken night which is naturally less than ideal. I’ve not helped myself either to be fair as I’m not doing anywhere near enough exercise, which would probably help with my mood too. It’s been nice being able to get out of the house of late and I’ve been able to go out for walks with my brother and nephew so need to try and do more of that. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle at this point though as by the time I’m done with work I’m tired and all I want to do is sit and watch or play something without wanting to do anything too intense as I have no motivation to do anything else. It’s probably going to have to be something I’m going to need to actually force myself to do in spite of everything else as ultimately it’s going to be in my interests to do so.

So yeah the year to date has been weird and hard, I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve managed to stay safe and all my friends family haven’t had any health issues with is the most important thing when all said and done. There are things I need to do in order to make sure my health, mental and physical, is properly looked after but keeping myself busy has definitely been a plus. We’ll see what happens with the rest of the year but being able to see people and just get out and go to the shops has been great, even with having to wear a mask which I’m not a fan of but will do as it’s just a sensible precaution. Hopefully things will go back to some semblance of normalcy but ultimately it’s just going to be a case of making sure I keep myself safe and do my best to make sure I minimise the risk anyone I interact with too. It’s ultimately a pretty modest goal for the rest of the year but it’s been that much of a shit show already that it’s about all that can be hoped for.

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