Rollercoaster of an Era

Photograph of a rollercoaster-like structure with many loop-the-loops.
My emotions and anxiety level seem to run on a course similar to this rollercoaster-like structure.

The ups, the downs; the quick turn-arounds and nervous anticipation: life in the Days of COVID-19 is a rollercoaster.

A few weeks ago, I thought I’d adjusted to the new normal. After a whole month of doing nothing more than I absolutely had to to keep the house running and the kids alive, I felt my old spark return. It was like waking up from a long sleep and feeling refreshed.

I went jogging. I lifted weights. I took the kids for walks. I basked in the sun.

And then it all came crashing down.

I think it was Abe’s declaration of a state of emergency, which was something I had been waiting for, desperately hoping for. And it finally came.

I thought I’d feel relieved, but my anxiety rose instead. Maybe it was because despite the state of emergency, nothing seemed to change. Maybe it was because the state of emergency only covered a few prefectures. Maybe it was because at that moment, the realization that the state of emergency really has no teeth at all hit me hard.

Whatever it was, I unravelled. I was still doing all the things I had to do: laundry, vacuuming, and similar stuff. But I stopped going outside. I might make it into the yard, but no further. My days were spent on the couch, directing my eight-year-old in her study schedule and keeping my toddler company as she binge-watched various movies from the Despicable Me franchise as I binge-watched Veronica Mars. (Thank you, Amazon Prime!)

Of course, the weather wasn’t as good as before, so that played a role, both making it unpleasant to be outside and adding to the darkness I felt inside. I just couldn’t bring myself to feel cheerful or optimistic. If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed dementors. That’s how drained of everything I felt.

Shichirigahama Beach and Enoshima Island.
Weather like this helps.

And then, yesterday, for no good reason, I got up off the couch. I took the toddler for a walk. I read a book in the sun. I did a YouTube workout. I passed up a sugar-laden snack I knew would do me no good, taste-wise or waist-wise.

It feels like I’m at one of those points along the rollercoaster when the up is so steep and hard to reach, the cars need to be dragged up slowly, accompanied by that mechanical clicking sound. Effort is required to keep my rollercoaster car of a behind motivated to reach the giddy heights of “normalcy,” which, inevitably, will be followed at some point by a breakneck descent into anxiety.

For now, I will focus on the journey to the top, and just hope it’s one of those boring roller coasters with hardly any big drops.

Published by helenkamakura

Helen is a Canadian writer and innkeeper based in Kamakura, Japan, where she lives with her Japanese husband and two children. If money became obsolete, she would happily accept peaches, fresh peas, and sun-warmed cherry tomatoes in exchange for her labour.

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