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Acedia – The Pandemic Emotion No One Talks About - But Everyone Feels

covid-19 Sep 09, 2020

 

If your emotions feel like a rollercoaster because of Covid 19, you’re not alone.

In my practice I’ve seen everything from people shutting down and having no motivation or feeling tired, restless, worried, sad, overwhelmed, exhausted or angry, not to mention being terrified by the uncertainty of not knowing what comes next.

Whatever you are feeling, know it’s valid and makes sense in reaction to the collective trauma we are experiencing.

However, in addition to the above-mentioned emotions, there’s something else I’ve noticed in myself and others. I can best describe it as a feeling of indifference, of not caring, and a “why bother” attitude.  

Have you occasionally found yourself not having the energy to get off the couch to do what you know you are supposed to do? Or perhaps you find it impossible to carry out simple tasks? You mean to go outside, but never find the time. It’s not a feeling of being mad, sad, glad or afraid…..just feeling nothing.

What’s going on?  

We are suffering from acedia.

Acedia: The Name For The Condition We Are all Experiencing

Acedia is an ancient Greek term defined as a state of listlessness, of not being concerned, and indifference. Once considered a sin in the 4th century, acedia was a response to the sameness of monastic life.

With Netflix and zoom meetings losing their appeal and our movement restricted due to the pandemic, as well as the news seeming worse every day, it’s not at all surprising that these conditions are generating a strange combination of listlessness, apathy, and at its worst sucking the life out of us, a condition called acedia.

This absence of caring or burnout is different than depression, in the clinical sense.   For depression, one can take a pill or see a therapist and feel better. 

Acedia, the result of a pandemic with no end in sight, causes our souls and hearts to be in distress. It feels impossible to function like normal human beings, the way we used to.  

How Do We Combat Acedia Lodged Inside Us?

If physical and emotional isolation are causing you to not be doing what you are supposed to be doing or to be desensitized and unable to connect with your loved ones, you may be suffering from the malady of acedia.

Don’t despair.  There are things that you can do to beat this psychic pain and bring joy back into your life.  Consider the following:

  • Incorporate routine into your life. Certain repetitive actions can benefit your physical and mental well-being.
  • Get outside of yourself – literally.  Spend quality time in the fresh air.
  • Be introspective.  Acedia is fueled by mindlessness. Spend time examining who you are and what you will do with your life.
  • Move your body. Acedia exacerbates feeling trapped due to Covid. The importance of exercise cannot be overstated.
  • Contact old friends.
  • Take up an old hobby or start a new one.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Take a virtual tour.

I hope this reflection can prove beneficial in your own fight against the lack of luster called acedia you are feeling.

If you have any questions, click here to schedule your initial consult.

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