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COVID Diary: Anxiety, Panic, Moodswings & Bugging Out in a time of Pandemic

Okay, so this is something to talk about. You’re self-isolating, or socially distant, or embargoed or whatever. And you have any of the above; depression, bpd, bipolar, panic, anxiety, moodswings etc.

Oh crap.

A bit of me-time is one of the things I generally use to re-source myself in times of emotional upheaval. (ed. I’m probably somewhere on the spectrum of Warren Ellis’s ‘Full Hermit’ most of the time…) However, that me-time doesn’t generally extend to FULL SOCIAL LOCKDOWN.

There are always the sudden panics and not-so-helpful thoughts, but this time they are, understandably, exacerbated: What happens if my friend gets quarantined where they work!? Will people forget that I exist!? What’s going to happen to my comrades I only ever see in pavement-space!? Will I ever be able to hug my nieces and nephews again!?

Everyone will have their own difficulties at this time being cooped up, and my community of the unmoored souls have their own set of challenges.

1. It’s Okay to Bug-Out.

Srsly. It is. It’s okay to have emotional ups and downs. Especially right now. It’s okay to say that we’re not dealing too well with some of this stuff. It’s okay to say that being cooped-up is difficult. It’s okay to suddenly feel scared, or down, or to get agitated.

The emotions themselves aren’t the problem, in my humble view. It’s how they are expressed, and what they encourage/impact.

2. It’s Okay to Restructure your Day, Routine, Habits, in order to Help.

None of us really know what is going on, or where this will lead – and that can create a emphasis on trying to ‘do normal’. Or to work harder from home, or to maintain whatever your previous habits were. You don’t have to. You can rearrange your daily life to include supportive activities or downtime or whatever it is that will help you be a healthier, fuller, person.


Some Helpful Things:

Bugging-out while Bugging-out.

One of the best emergency-tactics for me is just to take myself off to a quiet place when the emotions are tight. This can be done at home, by going to a bedroom/spare room or even just curling up on a sofa in a joint space. Telling those around you, ‘I just need to call Time Out for half an hour’ can be really helpful. You don’t have to explain much more than you will be back (having a time to return is good) if you live with others.

For me, it’s important not to get lost in anxious or depressing thoughts; but allow myself to chill out, feel whatever I’m feeling and sleep for a bit. That’s all okay.


Another good practice for me is to focus on other sensations and experiences. I used to have a collection of beach stones and shells that I would just roll through my hands, but I imagine doing the same with a big pot of dried lentils or sand would do the same. Tactile, feeling and touch, activates a different set of senses; ones that have nothing to do with whatever thoughts are going on. I wonder about setting myself a challenge of having a whole range of different, natural objects – like a shaman’s fetish – that could be used… Pine Cones, seeds, scrunchy leaves. Pet a cat or a dog.


Hugely helpful to me. Everyday meditation reduces my panic attacks almost to nothing.

Insight Timer app (free). A whole heap of different meditations from breathwork to mindful compassion.


Again, this works on that whole distraction/different areas of the self working thing. My personal recommendation would be field recordings; snippets of audio clips from every part of the world, recorded by audiophiles and could be anything from walking through a field to the strikes of Big Ben, or the clack of iron railings in Paris, with a lot of local ambient sound artworks, too.

Cities and Memory

World Sounds


And that’s it for now, comrades. You’re bits of aeon-old supernovae, which have traveled through the entire universe to get where you are. You got this.


Extinction Aesthetic

I’ve talked here before about writing being a kind of composting technique, or maybe the listening to smaller voices than the ones we’re most used to. Here’s another definition of this strange, lonesome art: Archaeology.

It was written way back in the heady days of 2014, when we all knew that the world was hurtling, but it somehow felt like we might be skating with at least one set of wheels on the ground. I was probably mistaken about that (35 is still such a tender number, despite what I may have thought at the time) but I find myself sniffing at these threads which are becoming more prevalent every day that I live in the Future Now. Extinction. Ecology. Mental Health. You know the drill.


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Extinction Aesthetic


: Sometimes I don’t know what’s worse, the thought that the future doesn’t exist, or that it does and I am entirely unsuited to it.


: Despite the imminence of our own extinction; I still, even today with our blind shot-put economy, apologist creeds and the politbureau of short-termism – I risk believing in delight. Which is the same as saying that I risk hope, that I believe that the caged bird sings for good reason; and perhaps delight is one of the few eternals. It is a-priori and everlasting, and affirmation that life is worth living and that the future is worth traveling towards.

Even if it is ultimately untrue; delight, joy, pleasure, satisfaction and communication are ties that build you a world, memory by memory, taste by taste.

Between these two, my heart breaks: On one side the eternalism of delight and the promise of humanities’ ability to adapt both emotionally and socially to the dark days of the future. On the other the inevitability of the collapse; the sense that we are all living on borrowed time; the fall of ecosystems; the rise of noise and confusion and static over diversity and opportunity.

Between these two~


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#Feck2019, already

Feck 2019, as in – to refuse it. To deny the power it holds over us already.

New Year is a weird time for all of us mired in the Gregorian Calendar. It’s the ultimate Alpha-point; it is everything new and promised and time-starting-again. In its most hopeful aspect the New Year promises everything; a magical window of opportunity through which all things will become possible. This is the year that you finally get solvent, or take up yoga, or become the best version of yourself…

///feck you, 2019 – where were you for me last year, the year before that-?///

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