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Tough, tough year for so many. And I say that from what I know is a privileged position on this planet. I’m retired, have enough of the basics of life and some little extras like the joy of living in a small town and I can see a lake every day. But I have fought inside myself against what has felt like imposed control. I am Buddhist. This has been a challenge nonetheless. I know impermanence. I feel compassion for those suffering and still I confess to dark thoughts. I believe in the greater good and sometimes I just feel like I’m in one big medical experiment. And then I remind myself: do we really KNOW anything?? This year has been a test of my faith for sure and I repeatedly find the solace in “begin again”. May we all find joy in these times. 🙏

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It’s been rough lately, but I feel the energy around me shifting so I know change is coming soon. It’s weird, this pandemic changed me in so many ways that I’m both not quite sure who I am/more sure of myself than ever. I feel like I’ve been steadily evolving and I’m on the precipice of a new beginning.

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I’m actually feeling hopeful and better than I have in a long while. The first thing that did it for me was having a nervous breakdown in my therapist’s office and us looking at another pharmaceutical regimen. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed that I needed more meds to stabilize. It’s been a rough go the past year and a 1/2.... It honestly saved me and my perspective of this life in general. I turned into a pretty irritable, pessimistic, and depressed individual. The second was completely staying away from social media. I just can’t anymore, even if it means the FOMO effect. The third was getting vaccinated, whether they work or not, lol. I just felt shielded and more comfortable in public and around others. The fourth is that my husband has been finding ways to cope better with working 15 hour days from home, on the computer, w/o a break. He’s an OCD perfectionist, extremely sensitive, a worrier at heart (just like his wife) and this Pandemic broke him... and tested us. There was nothing I could do to help him and it was breaking me. We worked together, we fought, we communicated, we ignored, we cried, we loved, we hated. And we’re stronger than ever. The outdoors and working out became his escape and release. And I’m proud as fuck of him.❤️

I will be traveling from NY—>FL in a couple weeks to see my parents and I’m nervous, yet excited. I haven’t seen them in a very long time, and I just feel blessed that they made it through this shit storm so that I can go visit them.

So overall, I can’t complain, I won’t complain. We still have an income coming in, a roof over our heads, and food and clothing on our backs. Yes I miss concerts, traveling, road trips, Mets games, foodie adventures, Biergartens, but I’m confident they’re ready for us just as much as we’re ready for them.

If anyone out there is really having difficulty, find someone to talk to and try different options. Thank heavens for Tyler and Sarah, whom have really kept me going this last year.

I feel like normalcy is returning here in upstate NY, I can’t speak for those in other parts of the country. But I sure as hell hope everyone out there is starting to feel that spark of light and life again. 💫✨💖

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Teaching has always brough me so much joy, but this year almost broke me. Watching my students struggle and not being able to connect with them how I have before broke my heart. My mental health took a few dives, so I started writing more and posting my poetry on my Instagram. Having total strangers comment from time to time has helped me feel less alone.

Some days are full of sun and hope and thankfulness, and then other days I wake up smothered by depression and argue with the dangerous thoughts inside my head.

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Personally, I'm doing alright. I work in marketing and despite losing a few clientes, I have job stability and have been working from home for over a year now.

I live alone, so I'm managing to see a few close friends to keep myself afloat and recently got back to swimming which has been doing wonders.

But, that being said... I'm still Brazilian. Probably the country that's doing the worst possible job in keeping the pandemic under control. I'm super glad to know that you guys are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but here things are SLOW. I mean, I have 0 hopes of getting a vaccine this year still...

Anyway, anyhow, thank you for this. Having a regular dose of good poetry, of inspiring words and love does wonders for my spirit!

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So I was good up until you asked the damned question. "How are YOU?" At which point I immediately burst into tears. Because damn it that's a loaded question and the actual letdown of a real answer is like a dam breaking and then who can stop the river? Oh, and because no one ever asks me, and so I never have anyone to tell. That's what happens when you're the rock, the anchor, the safety net for every relationship and you don't get asked because it's not your role to need anyone. But since you asked? I've been an exhausted, depleted, running on fumes mess who looks decent on the outside because that's what I'm allowed to do for months. My husband has been coaching, leaving me outnumbered by my two boys with ADHD every night for over a month, one of my best friends just had an entire cancerous lung removed, and I'm still trying to balance the 24/7 marathon of teaching and parenting, taking care of everyone else, with zero hours to take care of myself and no one volunteering to take care of me either. So I guess it's no surprise that Friday night I started feeling like crap and I'm on day two of living on the couch because my body has decided that's all we're going to do. Full stop. My body has decided.

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to pry myself out of bed tomorrow morning at 5am to go be all the things to everyone from my students to my children and husband. Right now, I'm just empty and the whole mask mandate being lifted in my state is just.... anticlimactic? I mean, you can still get Covid with vaccination....over 10k "breakthrough" cases are a thing...and neither of my kids is old enough to be vaccinated yet....so "So what?!?" is the best I've got. Covid is still an invisible ninja that can kick us unawares. I don't feel like anything has changed, despite the hype. I'm just going to be limping to the finish line of this school year and hoping to put the worst of this debilitating year behind me. How am I? I'm...wrecked. But I think that translates to "fine" for everyone who requires me to be. Thanks for asking though, Tyler....I appreciate the willingness to do that.

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Thanks for asking Tyler, and for those that are sharing thank you for being brave and putting yourselves out there. I’m better than I have been, but still not great. The last year and a half saw my entire life pause and regress in certain ways, including moving back in with family. While I’m thankful for the support network I have, it’s been a mentally tough year dealing with my own backwards steps, combined with what had been an unhealthy relationship with the family I’m living with even before moving back. Getting to the other side and as Tyler keeps saying I can see streaks of dawn on the horizon, but looking back at this last year with the benefit of hindsight, I’m scared of how deep I fell at some points and am thankful I had friends and loved ones and beautiful words to pull me out.

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Wow. Thank you for this wonderful Sunday message. I love how you just appear in my inbox with exactly the words I need. You have been an essential piece in my healing process. I just wrote a poem a few days ago about finally feeling hopeful again.


It's coming alive in me

the feeling I used to know so well.

It's rushing through my veins

waking up the parts

that have long been dormant.

Like sunlight pouring

through a window

illuminating everything

in its path.

I am finally starting

to feel hopeful.


The pandemic has been so hard. I can definitely relate to your struggles. As a videographer, I too felt the crushing blow that hit the wedding/event industry. The company I was working for suffered so much. I ended up getting laid off and losing my work family that I loved. I have been unemployed for what feels like forever. I have felt anxiety like I've never felt in my life. I have been struggling and contemplating my life and what the way back looks like. It has felt damn near impossible to even explain how I've been feeling to other people. I can barely make sense of it myself. For someone who is usually in control and always has a plan, the pandemic was a shock. I no longer had control of anything. I had to learn patience and to truly live in the moment. At the beginning of 2021, I decided to take the leap and start my own wedding videography company. It was terrifying (and still is!) but I am so grateful. While I have felt a lot of joy in building my business, I have still felt very heavy and sad. I have still been grieving the things I lost, the life I once had. "Often, RIGHT before we’re in the clear, we feel our heaviest. Right before we’re saved, we give up, give in, and fall apart." This is EXACTLY how I've been feeling. Some things have shifted in my life very recently, and some new opportunities are opening up. So I have finally started to breathe again, and remember what genuine joy is. While there are still some unknowns lingering in my life, I finally feel like I'm making progress on the road back. The road that has been exhausting and devastating for so long. This healing process is long, and I think it will be much longer still. But I'm learning to accept each day as it comes and accept where I am in the current moment. It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to not have my life figured out. It's okay to lean on people when I need support and ask for help when I need it. It has been a true blessing to be part of this group and to have continued inspiration and encouragement. And even when things have been hard (and you reveal your own struggles), it has been so fucking awesome to have other people to relate to. People who are also feeling their way through the darkness. Thank you for being a source of light during a time when almost everything else was dark and unknown. Slowly but surely, I am finally coming alive again.

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Wow, so reading everyone else's comment, I can so so relate. For me, I was laid off the day before unemployment here in Hawaii crashed and tens of thousands were stuck with no way to apply. I felt I dodged a bullet. I'd be able to get that at least and had savings so I was okay in that respect. But I wasn't okay when it came to worrying about my family and trying to make sure they all had what they needed. My youngest was stranded in Europe for four months, at her boyfriend's house with a weekend's worth of clothes - but at least she was safe (she attends college in Rotterdam). She came home at the end of the summer, but she's an asthmatic and don't think I haven't been a big mama bear when I see people without masks, she cannot afford to be sick.

My other children struggled, and so my heart struggled with them. I lay awake at night wondering what was going to become of us. I tried turn things around and apply for jobs but everything was shut down. The island was shut down - yes I live on Maui, poor me.

But amidst all this stress and anxiety, and all the tearful conversations, I had to admit to myself that my life was careening down a hill fast before COVID, I was always busy, no time for anything. This was a hard stop.

The island was suffering but quiet and peaceful for the first time in forever. There were no clamoring crowds on the beaches, no long lines at the stores, no traffic. I walked the empty beach in the early morning and thought, "It's the zombie apocalypse or I'm living someone's dream." I decided after long hours at the computer that maybe I'm a poet and not a book writer. I adopted a dog. I got in shape, lost weight and now read a stack of books daily. I resigned myself to a life I'd forgotten about, when I lived in Alaska. A hermit's life. Solitude. And I stopped falling apart - when my daughter came back from Europe, I was a hot mess of emotion, and worry about my other three. I called and got back on anxiety medicine so I could think clearly and I began to fight against the dark cloud. I refused to let it in.

And soon things changed, recently, and I was hired back to one of my old jobs. Only a quieter position. So I feel the change in the air but I feel I'm still fighting a battle against the invisible enemy. Yesterday while in the check out line at the grocery store, I watched a group of unmasked tourists come in the store and the manager chase them out. One had to raise a stink and try to argue with her, and the locals started coming forward to defend her. We're small, we only have one hospital. We get 6500 people A DAY visiting. I've become an activist for change, for a more responsible, eco friendly tourism.

Wow this is long, I'm sorry, but that's it - my story, still happening, still worrying, hoping for the best. Thanks for this space.

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Wow, this is such an important question, especially now as it seems like so many people are going back to “normal” and I feel like we are all expected to just be okay now, because we can take our masks off in some places and restrictions are being lifted. But the mental effects of this pandemic are real and will be, I’m afraid, long lasting for a lot of us.

As for me, I had a baby about 4 months before all the lockdowns started. He came a little later in life, when my youngest was 7 and my oldest 11, so I was already dealing with the adjustment to newborn parenting and the loss of the little bit of freedom I had scraped together over the years. Then I dealt with the total loss of freedom along with crippling fear and anger at the actions of my fellow humans. My response was to pull inward, and pull the family close together in a little bubble. We have had many ups and downs over the past year, but I’m happy to say we are coming through it as a strong family unit, and I think in some ways, this forced closeness has helped us. But, it has also paused everything. We have had to focus on survival, including finding a way to work full time and care for 4 kids all day, every day, so all the other work, like working on marriage issues or any kind of self care, has been pushed aside. And now that things are looking more hopeful (I see it!), to be honest, I feel myself wanting to keep pulling inward, where I think I’ll be safe. I desperately miss traveling and going out and all the things we used to do, but I still have that anxiety and fear about being back out in the world.

Thank you for this community, and for the hope and light you remind us of. I know it’s there, and we can all make it to the other side.

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I have so much compassion for everyone who has posted so far, and also with Tyler's post. There is so much emotion and loss and not-for-no-reason frustration. I've been quite lucky in many ways through the pandemic. I shifted hugely with the pandemic and went a little inward and found my inner introvert and pretty happily cavorted with her. I have to admit, I also have my 13 yr old son to hang with. I was lucky, though - I didn't lose my job, so I didnt have all the anxieties associated with that (which are HUGE). I think the pandemic did a few things for me that I have come to appreciate: 1) more stillness and alone time to the point where I have really come to recognize how much I enjoy escaping into myself (or reading, writing, etc) and that has been a new way to know myself better. Not just through the reading and writing - but also the recognition that my escape mechanism is into myself and that I do it more than I previously thought. 2) I have really become aware of how much everyone suffers - how much we're walking bags of suffering walking around, and that has made me really love all the good and lucky things. Sometimes, when I wake up, surrounded by a fluffy comforter and in that half sleep, I make it a point to recognize how great it is. This awareness of all the struggle in myself and around me reminds me to honor all the strength in all of us, but also to love the magic that shows up. I think the pandemic has definitely been part of that increased awareness.

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I feel so heavy when I even begin to think about the amount of suffering this virus has caused across the globe. I'm an empath, and I have minimal energy reserve for thinking much about this in a collective sense because it's too much to bear.

I'm personally lucky - I've kept my job, I had relatively hung up the travelling boots after a few years of nomadic lifestyle in the years leading up to 2020. Despite living in Melbourne where we're in Lockdown 4.0 - I live in Australia where we have remained really successful in minimising the spread of the virus, thanks to public health measures. That comes with it's down-sides - a lot of vaccine hesitancy. I worry that we'll keep being locked down (extreme measure) with the smallest trace of cases, because we won't have adequate vaccine coverage for a long time yet. But I am proud to live in a country where most people follow laws made for the greater good of everyone's safety.

Currently I feel apathetic, and struggling to work through challenges that are coming up for me. I feel like I've regressed emotionally as a person in my current relationship - since beginning to identify traits of my inner child, she seems to be expressing herself in the only ways she ever knew how. That was to repress and hoard emotions until resentment builds to a boiling point. But I know there are triggers there, and surely its better to know the triggers than to not.

I'm burning out with this self-work bullshit. Hard stuff keeps coming up, and more of it, and then more - it's a never-ending cesspool of Difficult Things I Know The Answer To

But Don't Want To Know The Answer To.

I'm a newly qualified yoga teacher, and I'm trying to create and make sense of it all. It's overwhelming.

Thank-you for creating this community. I tend to come here when I'm at my loneliest, and I know that I'll be coming here for years to come.

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