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What’s Driving Me Mad

Student

Let’s be honest: I’m depressed again. I feel like I’m moving through something heavy, like molasses, all day long. Life feels purposeless.

I feel like everything has been taken from me. Two months ago, I was a busy, purposeful student. I was surrounded by friends; my teachers loved me; I went to bed each night with so much accomplished. I met someone new every day, and I absolutely loved it.

Now, it’s a red-letter event when I look into the eyes of someone who is not an immediate family member. I feel like I need to protect myself from my father; the way he looks at me, the possibility that he might trap me in a lecture about Q-Anon, the threat that he might say something so egregiously racist that I have to argue with him.

I miss talking to liberals, hearing the other side. I miss talking to people who knew more about math that me. I miss sitting at a table across from a friend, being able to pull out a blank piece of paper to draw a diagram to explain a concept to them. I miss the sun on my back as I started to walk from Benson to Finn. I miss Finn; I miss working in the evenings, popping into B and S’s room to gossip and chat for a few minutes, and then getting more work done. Sometimes, I miss the alcohol, feeling grown-up, drinking with friends. I miss talking to men, not in a romantic way, just to see things from a different viewpoint.

I am so afraid. I think what I’ll remember most about the coronavirus is the fear. There is so much uncertainty; will this disease wipe out the entire population? How long will I be trapped in this house? When will I see my friends again?

And I can’t bring myself to express that fear. Brooke, Mom, Dad all treat the situation like an interesting little interruption in their regular lives. But to me, this disease has taken away all my plans for the future. I was finally going to travel, to help people, to use my knowledge for good. Now all that is gone. I know I will emerge from this period a less optimistic individual. You can’t count on anything in this world. Nothing is permanent; nothing is certain. Though intellectually, I know God is in control, this world seemed governed by nothing but chaos and evil. I am staggered by the number of deaths, the inefficacy of our leaders, the ignorance of the anti-maskers, some of them residing in my own home.

It feels like war. Bill Gates is calling this Pandemic I. See, out there, in Silicon Valley, in think tanks, in research centers, our intellectual leaders are able to grasp the seriousness of this crisis. And I, sitting at home, reading the news, approaching the situation with the eye of an analyst, see things the same way.

But my family see it differently. Dad sees it as a left-wing conspiracy, Mom sees it as an inconvenience, Brooke sees it as a joke. And I’m stuck here with them, with no one else to talk to. It’s enough to drive one mad.

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