Why does it feel like I don’t care about anything anymore? What are these feelings of apathy? Apathy can be defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. With each new lockdown or new set of restrictions, I feel myself becoming less and less interested in anything and everything. Apathy can be used to help understand “Pandemic fatigue” or “Pandemic fear” through a mental health lens. As Ornell, Schuch, Sordi and Paim Kessler (2020) noted, during a pandemic, our fear and anxiety levels increase in healthy individuals and intensify those feelings in those who already suffer from psychiatric disorders. This is important for us to note as we emerge from lockdowns and social distancing. Those who did not already have psychiatric disorders are being affected by the pandemic, and those who did have pre existing mental health conditions are suffering as well. With this in mind, patience is the most important thing to practice in a post-pandemic world. For some, their lives were only inconvenienced by the pandemic. For others, their whole livelihoods have been taken away from them.
All aspects of our lives can be affected by a pandemic. Ornell et al., (2020) mentioned that interestingly, during pandemics, the number of people who have their mental health affected is larger than the amount of people who are affected by the infection. This opens up a new way to look at pandemics. Not only do they affect our physical health, they also attack our mental health. As this pervasive fear of not following the rules or hoping that things will return to normal soon fills up our thoughts; we forget to be gentle with ourselves. You may be suffering more than you know due to the fact that someone is worse off than you. To answer the question that started this article, why do I not care about anything anymore? The general answer to that is that the pandemic is affecting how you feel like you can relate to the world around you. Apathy is a reaction to too many unknowns. Will restaurants open up next Monday? I don’t know, therefore I don’t care to go out or do anything.
How do I shake this apathy? Keep in touch with someone that you have been neglecting to nurture a relationship with. Listen to your feelings and thoughts and recognize that you may be suffering as well. Understand and acknowledge that stress, anxiety, and fear are normal in unknown situations. Lastly, seek professional help if things feel overwhelming. Getting the help you deserve will positively impact your life and the lives of those around you.
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Written by: Emma McLachlin
Ornell, F., Schuch, J. B., Sordi, A. O., & Paim Kessler, F. H. (2020). “Pandemic fear” and COVID-19: mental health burden and strategies. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 42(3), 232–235. https://doi-org.ezproxy.aec.talonline.ca/10.1590/1516-4446-2020-0008