Anxiety and COVID19 Doomsaying January 1, 2022 12:31 PM   Subscribe

A respectful request for those expressing "we're all gonna die" sentiments in COVID threads – please remember that fear is contagious; that a not-insignificant number of Mefites deal with issues of anxiety, fear and trauma, pre-existing or newly arrived; and that others have already experienced illness and deaths. Please consider practicing self-care (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and whether the sentiment serves a useful purpose aside from venting.
posted by MollyRealized to MetaFilter-Related at 12:31 PM (108 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

I bailed for several months in 2020 over the apocalyptic levels of anxiety (that wasn't the only thing, to be fair, but I don't want to get into anything else right now) and honestly I've been considering doing it again, just for my own peace of mind. Sometimes this place feels like the room of the doom junkies from that Mountain Goats song. I know we're all struggling.
posted by praemunire at 1:13 PM on January 1 [22 favorites]


Can we maybe get a Fuck It / doom and gloom thread in MeTa for this purpose? (Also climate doom and gloom.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:27 PM on January 1 [11 favorites]


The problem with the gloom and doom MeTas iirc was that mods (who normally felt okay not being in MeTa threads most of the time) would get called to them a lot because gloom and doom could and did quickly become "Why should I go on living?" which is a whole other thing and required mod response, at least in line with how the site currently runs.

Which is not to say that this isn't a community that can't be available for support of some kinds, but sometimes just having an all-spleen-vent thread for users could be difficult for also-having-a-hard-time-sometimes mods. I think there's a real tricky balance between wanting to be a supportive community, and maybe not being a place for people's "We're all gonna die" sentiments. I've definitely got a personal opinion about where that line should be drawn, but I'm only one person.

One thing I've observed after being here nearly forever is that people's subjective sense of what's a "we're all gonna die" doomsaying sentiment and what's just talking about facts/truth/reality can really vary widely so it's hard to talk about sometimes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on January 1 [55 favorites]


I have a policy of automatically unfollowing anyone who says “We're fucked” or “We're doomed” or similar sentiments on social media. They’re not only upsetting for people dealing with anxiety disorders, but, well, not helpful for anyone, anxiety disorders or not. Since I can’t do that here, yeah, I would really appreciate if people would dial back remarks like this around here.
posted by holborne at 3:54 PM on January 1 [21 favorites]


I agree with this request, and I, personally, would take it a bit further: I would request that after remembering those things, and considering those things, that MeFites then take the next step and skip the doomsaying comment.

The site guidelines ask us to be aware of our privilege. This includes the privilege of being less susceptible to anxiety than some others. The guidelines say, "avoid exclusionary or insensitive statements that can harm or alienate other people." Doomsaying is insensitive and can harm others, as has been discussed multiple times here on the grey.

As a community, we can all help by flagging comments of doom, using the "breaks the guidelines" reason.

It may also be helpful to add our own gentle reminders to threads that attract comments of doom, to reinforce the guidelines and re-establish a community sense that, while the community is often generous in providing support to MeFites who are hurting, it's unfair and harmful to dump anxiety on others without their consent.

Thank you for posting this, WCityMike2.
posted by kristi at 4:09 PM on January 1 [20 favorites]


Does anyone remember the threads from around May, post-vaccine and pre-Delta? The ones with a strongly represented opinion that the pandemic is *over*, the CDC says go spit in each other's mouths again, it's fine, and all you poor traumatized scientific illiterates who think it's maybe a little premature to ditch the masks are really bringing down the vibe around here? I remember those threads. If the term doomsaying wasn't mentioned somewhere it would definitely wouldn't have been out of place.

I see very little outright fatalism in recent threads, but plenty of concern about how events might reasonably unfold in the near future. Those can read the same way, I guess.
posted by figurant at 4:48 PM on January 1 [36 favorites]


all you poor traumatized scientific illiterates who think it's maybe a little premature to ditch the masks are really bringing down the vibe around here? I remember those threads. If the term doomsaying wasn't mentioned somewhere it would definitely wouldn't have been out of place.

And you know what? Putting aside any unkind language, they weren't wrong, based on the situation at the time. If you plan to stay personally locked down as long as the possibility of a new, dangerous variant exists, you're going to be doing it until you die. Which is your privilege, of course, but I find the investment in the apocalyptic narrative genuinely exhausting and difficult to cope with. I say this as a person who is usually quite careful with her personal precautions.

Now I don't want to set up as some kind of victim of "more privileged" non-anxious people. I'm a grown-up, and I can click or not click as I choose. But, yes, sometimes I get a potentially harmful vibe from these threads.

(NB: "doomsaying" actually means "telling the future or determining someone's fate")
posted by praemunire at 5:07 PM on January 1 [14 favorites]


Thank you for this thoughtful post, WCityMike2.
posted by doctornemo at 5:23 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


I don't see that kind of comments in the thread. There are definitely varied opinions about the situation we're in, but I'm not seeing any significant number of comments along the lines of "we're all going to die" or anything comparable.

Realistically, we're in a global pandemic that people are dying from, so some people are definitely going to die. People are going to talk about that and that means that people are going to have different ideas about how many people are going to die, get very sick, get long Covid, and so on. That seems like just part of the territory here.

If we're talking about privilege, there are obviously huge disparities between the risk that different people face from Covid. There are many people here with disabilities, chronic illness or other health conditions that leave them particularly at risk. Those people have been implicitly told, throughout the pandemic, that their lives aren't worth much (it's just a flu, unless you're old or have pre-existing conditions, in which case we're happy to sacrifice you so that we can keep going to restaurants). That's something that has been noted by a lot of people, because it is really stark. It feels pretty wrong to be saying people in that situation can't talk about their experience and their view of the future because it causes others anxiety.

There's always going to be a balance between the expectation that one would skip a thread if it causes one anxiety versus asking people to police themselves so one doesn't get exposed to thoughts that one finds harmful. Different threads call for a different balance. In this case, a lot of people have legitimately negative thoughts and it's pretty obvious that the thread is going to have some negative thoughts in it, so this one seems clearly like more of a skip the thread situation, rather than an everyone should police their comments situation.
posted by ssg at 5:49 PM on January 1 [40 favorites]


It feels pretty wrong to be saying people in that situation can't talk about their experience and their view of the future because it causes others anxiety.

So ssg, I see you stepping up in allyship, and I really appreciate that. But I don't feel like I'm being told this at all. I comment quite frequently about what daily life's like for one high-risk transplant patient during covid, and others in similar situations and risk levels do that as well, and I don't think that's part of the concern here. Unless it is, and if it is, then please tell me.

And even as I do post about things as candidly as I can, and as candidly to the degree I hope might be helpful, I recognize that even though I've been pretty sick for a while now, I have several privileges as a middle-class white woman with reliable housing and food on the table and who is more or less mentally in a good place most of the time, and I try my best to temper my comments accordingly.
posted by mochapickle at 6:26 PM on January 1 [16 favorites]


Thanks for this WCityMike2

I've always seen metafilter's core as just that - a curated filtering and discussion of what is on the wider web, I was also brought up to bring solutions to the table and not be unjustly negative; "if you have nothing good to say say nothing" is sound advice.

Metafilter was born just before 911 and I've seen a number of articles where on-the-ground/specialist witnessing proved that a news-piece etc. was overblown/factually incorrect.

A local actions, ideas and possibilities page would be far more useful than a vent page imo - the problems are building, many here want to do things and to brainstorm those things - I ask here on many things where otherwise there would be nobody.
posted by unearthed at 6:40 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


That's something that has been noted by a lot of people, because it is really stark. It feels pretty wrong to be saying people in that situation can't talk about their experience and their view of the future because it causes others anxiety.

I am the disabled, high-risk person being caused anxiety by "we're all going to die" comments. There was one thread a bit ago with a question about what people in apartments should do and a quote response was basically "Die, because capitalist overlords don't care." I understand the sentiment but it sure doesn't help me as a disabled person living in an apartment to further have my spirit crushed. It may very well have been someone expressing their own fears and frustrations as a high risk person, but that comes at a cost to other disabled and marginalized folks who do not have the option to totally lock down for the rest of our lives and are basically told we're gonna die for it.
posted by brook horse at 7:22 PM on January 1 [46 favorites]


OTOH things are terrible and it’s good to have space to talk about those things.
posted by angrycat at 7:57 PM on January 1 [6 favorites]


One thing I've observed after being here nearly forever is that people's subjective sense of what's a "we're all gonna die" doomsaying sentiment and what's just talking about facts/truth/reality can really vary widely so it's hard to talk about sometimes.

This, plus there's an online commenting style some people have where they very, very confidently make assertions that may not turn out to stand the test of time all that well.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:58 PM on January 1 [21 favorites]


This post makes an excellent point and we all should try to be mindful of its request.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]


Thanks for putting this up, WCityMike2.

For me, the covid threads have a strong flavor of the earlier US politics threads. I am rarely able to engage with them because there is so much anxiety and doom, and it sometimes feels like anyone who admits to anything other than complete isolation gets accused of wanting to sacrifice disabled or elderly people. (I have been pretty judgy myself, something I am trying to be better at.)

I do occasionally peek at the covid threads in the hope of finding some real information or action items, beyond venting and anger and anxiety, but it's harder and harder to separate the one from the other. I agree that having a space to vent is important, but perhaps it needs to be different from the more general covid threads.

I don't know that we need a "hide covid posts" workaround, like for the political threads ... but some way to dissuade the apocalyptic scenarios and hot takes? There's already tiny text at the bottom of the comment box that "everyone needs a hug" -- maybe modify to something more, er, covid appropriate.
posted by basalganglia at 8:52 PM on January 1 [7 favorites]


I suffer from anxiety and have only recently been able to visit MetaFilter again as I'm doing better these days.
For me, it's not so much the "we're all going to die" comments that do it, because I can see that this is just a individual having difficult time. The thing that affects me badly (and I think is bad for the site) people who seem to believe that they have the responsibility to squash any tiny sprout of optimism before it may take root.
I'm projecting here, but it seems like some people feel that it's up to them to police other people's levels of optimism, because unless we're all in abject despair, we'll all throw caution to the winds and go gallivanting about in big groups, rejecting vaccinations and throwing our masks away.
The logical extension of this lack of trust can be seen in the recent covid thread on the blue, I'm seeing people calling others out on their covid-safe habits, as in "what were you doing at the craft market, then? Clearly you are risking other people's lives by not isolating sufficiently" etc.
I interpret this as other anxious people like me, who are trying to control things that are out of their control. "There's a chance that somebody reading this not-completely-hopeless take on things as permission to be irresponsible so it's my DUTY to paint things as black as possible."
And if I may, I've seen a pattern of (usually) USA mefites who react out of proportion to any MetaAsk that even hints at the tiniest whiff of a possibility of vaccine hesitation. The question might be how to persuade somebody else get vaccinated, and a commenter will state that "if I knew you were associating with this vaccine hesitant person, * you * would no longer be my friend."
Vaccine related questions seem to get a disproportionate amount of harsh, heated answers that seem (to me) not in keeping with the spirit of AskMeta, and are probably discouraging questions from people who are in a pretty difficult place already.
I don't think it's possible to prevent covid threads from being dire, and I (as a very anxious person) think it's on each person to avoid those threads, if it's going to harm their mental health. But I do think that it would be great if people would lay down the burden of responsibility of policing other people's optimism levels here on MetaFilter.

I hope it's not too off topic, but I would like to point out to USA people that when you vent about the fact that the pandemic would be over by now if it weren't for your fellow anti-vax Americans, it kind of comes across as a statement that you don't care about any country outside of the US. In a context where vaccines are not distributed equally between countries, and this lack of vaccination creates variants that prolong the pandemic whether or not Americans are vaccinated, this really seems very tone-deaf.
posted by Zumbador at 12:51 AM on January 2 [70 favorites]


Yes! Optimism policing is an excellent phrase.
posted by freethefeet at 1:05 AM on January 2 [6 favorites]


IRL, it’s possible to apply levity and distraction to lift the mood after it’s brought down by legitimate comments that happen to be of a down mood. Eeyore is loved and tolerated in equal measure, and never much changes, and that’s fine.

Are we allowed to apply levity to lift the mood after doomy comments, in a way that isn’t “please stop the doom, reiterating the urgency of doom” cycling, but is instead “I honor your doom, and now the weather forecast for tomorrow”? Is there any way to do that in forum format that works at all, without inspiring reiteration-of or piling-on behaviors from the doomy and the otherwise participants?

I have no idea what that looks like in forums, but IRL it looks like the doomy person knows they’re doomy and takes some care not to bring everyone down into doomy constantly, and the non-doomy people take some care to be extra forgiving of the doomy person occasionally, and it balances out.

I’m not willing to concede that doomy thoughts deserve the same unlimited airtime in threads as non-doomy thoughts, because that dooms the site, and I don’t want MeFi to be doomed. But I want to be forgiving of it in occasional instances, because to feel doomed is human — it’s just not very healthy for most humans, and has to be treated sparingly, in my view.

I wish I had better ideas on how to handle this tactfully, but I don’t. I just want humans to feel safe, and frequent doomy thoughts are inherently unsafe for so very many of us in ways that frequent optimistic thoughts are not. So rather than ask how to walk that line, I’m going to ask the doomy folls — I mean no insult or specificity by the label, I just made it up on the fly to leave this comment — to help us understand and adapt better as a forum:

How can we find a balance between your legitimate need to express despair sometimes, and our need to protect the many of us that are harmed by frequent expressions of despair?

Meta threads don’t work, and kind of destroy mod sanity; they are especially vulnerable to frequent expressions of despair, being exposed to it at higher quantities than any of us. Optimism policing sounds like a step too far, and hints that the solution was proposed by a non-doomy person. So, anyone other than optimists (which excludes me):

What compromise is just enough, that makes it better today for others, and is grudgingly acceptable to everyone; that better walks the line between optimism.policing vs. sanity damage?
posted by Callisto Prime at 2:10 AM on January 2 [10 favorites]


Used to be in the olden days here metatalk posts that got fighty turned sharply into recipe threads. Very “banhammer has been applied, let us discuss quiche”. It was dismissive of people’s problems but damn I miss it sometimes.
posted by Mizu at 3:38 AM on January 2 [6 favorites]


Ugh, so ironically, after proclaiming how much better my anxiety has been, I've just had another anxiety spiral, at least partly caused by spending too much time on that Covid thread.
So I should probably stay away from metafilter for a bit. Love to all of you, thanks for all of the wise and kind words I have read here.
posted by Zumbador at 3:39 AM on January 2 [16 favorites]


So I should probably stay away from metafilter for a bit. Love to all of you, thanks for all of the wise and kind words I have read here.

Taking a break can be good! But I do want to say how much I have appreciated your comments and perspective, and hope that you will be back at some point.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:05 AM on January 2 [9 favorites]


Maybe people aren't like me or something, but I find optimism much more anxiety-producing than gloom these days.

I'm in Florida where the governor likes to serve up heaping plates of optimism instead of facts with the result that I do not know what is going on with covid near me. I know what's up in Pasco County because r/floridacoronavirus has a fantastic freelance reporter who works in an urgent care center and lets us all know what's going on there. And Orlando keeps running out of oxygen to treat water. So based on that stuff, I can kind of extrapolate and realize that I need to start shopping for my parents again to keep them out of the stores. But my ability to protect myself is limited because my employer subscribes fully to the governor's optimism mandate.

Healthy optimism led this employer the week before we went home for winter break to hold a 5-hour-long "retreat" wherein we all went and sat in a big room and learned about our Clifton Strengths. This is the third such personalitytestrelated "retreat" I've been to but the first one held during a pandemic with snacks in the room and people taking off their face masks to eat and to talk about their own and their coworker's colors or acronyms or strengths or whatthehellever Harvard Business School has churned out lately.

My immediate supervisor led the retreat. She had had a bad cold and cough for the week leading up to it and was still symptomatic, but fortunately her at-home covid test said it wasn't covid, so by Florida standards, she was fine to come to work. She took off her mask to run the powerpoint, but she had to duck out at one point because she was coughing too hard to talk.

A day or two later we had an optional but really mandatory brainstorming session in the teeeeeeny tiny conference room with donuts so that everybody could snack together convivially, to put us in that lighthearted, optimistic, no-bad-ideas creative brainstorming mood.

They did the giant postit note on the wall thing and we shouted out our fun, imaginative ideas and laughed together about the more outlandish among them.

Then I thought maybe the brainstorm was over, but no, we had to stick around longer because we needed to get up and walk around the room together so that we could all put dots next to the words and phrases we liked the best from the brainstorming sesh.

To make these dots, we used the scented markers we all remember from kindergarten--y'know, 'cause this is all childlike creative fun. Each of us got a marker in a different color, with a different fun, nostalgic kindergarten smell. We were all asked to sniff our markers and let everybody know what they smelled like. Because fun!

My immediate supervisor, still with the cold and the cough, couldn't smell her marker. So she took off her mask and tried again. Nope! "Oh well," she said brightly, "My sniffer is still off!"

Optimism can really cause some anxiety, let me tell you.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:16 AM on January 2 [63 favorites]


Oh Don Pepino, I'm so sorry. That's not optimism, that's bullheadedness.
posted by mochapickle at 9:22 AM on January 2 [13 favorites]


Thank you, I appreciate. It's the whole mfing state. I'm stuck here and so are all my friends because of our elderly parents. I am so, so scared.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:24 AM on January 2 [11 favorites]


Yeah that's not optimism, that's downright idiotic. I'm so sorry you have to deal with that.
posted by cooker girl at 9:54 AM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Let's not conflate optimism with lying.
posted by kimberussell at 10:36 AM on January 2 [6 favorites]


Let's not conflate optimism with lying.

?

They were all in the room. The big boss who called for the brainstorm, who wrote up our ideas on the postit notes, who handed out the markers and the donuts. The lil boss with the cold. They're all in there, too, whipping off their masks to eat of the donuts and sniff of the markers. I can see if they were Snidely Whiplash types like the governor, but they clearly believed it to be safe for all of us, them included, and they were simply trying to make a fun safe atmosphere for us to air our ideas because, and I posit that they believed this because they had no facts and they had no facts because the governor denies us facts, they clearly believed they could do that because there was no danger. So how were they "lying?" They weren't.

Everybody had skin in the game, too. It's not like they're all young and heartless. The big boss has an elderly parent she goes to see often. The little boss, the poor thing, is the new grandmother of an infant born premature who has been in the neonatal intensive care unit for several months and was scheduled to come home to lilboss's house for the very first time the week lilboss started coughing. Out of an abundance of caution the NICU kept the infant an extra week. But lil boss was still not 100% better when I fled the workplace for the relative safety of the home hermitage. I don't know what happened but I really really hope it was fine. She's been showing us pictures of this kid for months.

I went in that room a cautious optimist, hoping nobody, especially my poor sweet lilboss, had anything contagious. I prepared for the possibility that somebody might, though. I had on a KF94 that I did not touch once throughout the ordeal. I eschewed donuts and marker sniffing, and I was last in and first out. If I caught anything, it's asymptomatic so far. Cautious optimism is beneficial. Brave optimism like that retreat and the brainstorm session and the waffle party they had in the same tiny room the day before the brainstorm, the kind of optimism where you both hope for the best and prepare for the best, is pernicious and terrifying.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:09 AM on January 2 [17 favorites]


Don Pepino. omg. so sorry you had to do that. :(
posted by Glinn at 11:21 AM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Thank you so much to all who are saying "omg" and "sorry"--I can't tell you how wonderful it is to get a little confirmation that I'm not irrational. Thank you all so much. It is wild down here, for real. I guess it's like the governors all like to say, though usually about hurricane season rather than collective delusion season, "It's the cost of living in paradise!"
posted by Don Pepino at 11:26 AM on January 2 [19 favorites]


I’m so sorry, Don Pepino. I hope you remain well and I hope there are no collateral infections to grandbabies, etc.

You are not alone. I also find optimism significantly more anxiety provoking than pessimism. I don’t know how to reconcile the varying needs here but I will take this thread as a reminder to at least think twice about whether I can add something useful other than a chorus of “yes, everything is still actively terrible” to a discussion.
posted by Stacey at 11:27 AM on January 2 [8 favorites]


Yes! Optimism policing is an excellent phrase.

I hope I wasn't doing that with this comment which seems to have garnered a number of thumbs up in the thread.

first heard almost two years ago. worth repeating. Optimism is not a wise tactic for dealing with a virus.

I'd originally written a longer comment but cut most of it out. The rest of it was (perhaps a tired horse coming from me) a reflection on the difference between optimism and hope. I generally try to avoid the former but embrace the latter. Because optimism (like its opposite pessimism) is a prediction and if sixty plus years of mucking around on this planet has taught me anything, it's to be skeptical of predictions, particularly the kind that aren't backed by scientific rigour. Whereas hope is the opposite of despair, and despair is my sworn enemy. I've learned to get angry at it, my own and that of others. Because it's poisonous, deadly. You don't want it in your house.

Which is not to say that we shouldn't discuss the terribleness of things, when things are indeed terrible. But it's one thing to fix focus on an enemy, study it, get a better grasp of its nature and its intentions. It's another to succumb to it, to surrender to it, and then not just broadcast it but get frustrated with others who aren't sharing that level of desolation*. This is doing the devil's work for him (as an old Christian friend would've put it). Why would you want to do that?

* I don't know if I've encountered excessive amounts of this sort of loud despair here at Mefi lately, but definitely in other aspects of my life.
posted by philip-random at 12:05 PM on January 2 [13 favorites]


Speaking just as a person, not as a moderator, I generally stay out of Covid discussions as much as I can. My husband just had a bone marrow transplant a couple of months ago, and is undergoing chemotherapy, and I'm hanging on to every bit of hope I can, with ragged fingernails. Also, elderly parents. Also, I'm no spring chicken meself. If I could read something that's just straight facts and updates on the science, research and testing news, etc., I would, because I want to know what I need to know, but I cannot steep in the Covid zeitgeist brew, or I wouldn't sleep at all. Not that I'm actually sleeping. 2 hours at a time at night for 4-5 hours, generally, and then if I get it, a nap of ~1-2 hours after work.

As far as having a severely immunocompromised loved one, I'm lucky that I have a WFH job, and non-cruel, non-ridiculous employer / workmates, and we don't leave the house, basically, but he has to go for treatments. And that involves taking a taxi. To a hospital. To be among the other sick people, and staff. For hours. And taking a taxi back. We don't have a car, and even if we did there is no parking anywhere near there. A friend or neighbor could drive him, but they are all in the process of getting Covid, or recovering from Covid, or being exposed to Covid. So, laaa. I'm in a constant state of terror over this, so I have to choose optimism, but not stupid optimism, like Don Pepino's work. Optimism like, let me know as much as I need to know to mitigate our shitty circumstances as much as possible, and not so much that I can't believe that we will make it through to the other side of this.

I still have empathy for those who need to talk things out, including the darker aspects, and of course I have empathy for those who are experiencing panic attacks and anxiety (oh, hello, old friends!), and I'm not angry at anyone processing this in any way they need to. For myself, I just need to choose wisely where and how to spend my own time, so that I can carry on as well as possible and keep things positive here, and keep him from having to worry about *me* and my fears, along with everything else.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:56 PM on January 2 [47 favorites]


I'm more concerned about people saying things that aren't true but sound good than people saying things that are true but don't sound good YMMV.
posted by bleep at 1:17 PM on January 2 [13 favorites]


Sometimes the line between doomsaying and toxic positivity can be a little hard to find.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:08 PM on January 2 [11 favorites]


I'm more concerned about people saying things that aren't true but sound good than people saying things that are true but don't sound good YMMV.

That cuts both ways though: it can sometimes feel good to give voice to the really dark thoughts poking around our heads, but just because something isn't hopeful doesn't mean that it's true. Like, reality has good things as well as bad, and it's not any less of a bias to ignore the positive than it is to ignore the negative.

I mean, I don't go in COVID threads anymore because it seems like there's no room for people like me. I missed the first 1+ years of the pandemic, because I had COVID and have Long Haul COVID, and I just don't remember them. Like at all. So, yeah I don't have the same responses to things as people who do remember that time period, it's not part of my personal history, and there doesn't seem to be any room for something outside of the norm there, including being able to say that things might not be as bad as the worst of all possible worlds.

When Long Haul COVID comes up, it's often with this air of "this is the worst thing I can imagine." And you know, I'm still in the middle of it almost 2 years later. It really really sucks, like I can go on for hours and hours about how awful it is. It's just that I'm kind of in the acceptance stage of grieving my lost self. So it does me absolutely no good to see people talking about it as this abstract thing everyone should be terrified of, especially since this community tends to favor hyperbolic language. Like I feel like the conversations about Long Haul here are using my condition as a fairy tale to scare people into behaving and don't really have a whole lot of room for people like me who actually have it. (Also, can I just request that if you do insist on using it like that, leave off the goddam "healthy _____ who does _____ exercises" part of the story, it's just as much of a tragedy when a less active person who really enjoys crossword puzzles gets it).

I mean, look, everyone should take COVID seriously, and get vaccinated and do what they can to stay safe. Believe me, I am not at all shy about telling people that in real life. Seriously, I've spent a lot of time with people who are on the fence or just don't see what the big deal is, or whatever calming discussing it. At a pretty big cost to my mental energy and health. It just also seems to me that staying safe requires a bit of faith that there's things we personally can do to get things moving in a better direction. Otherwise why bother staying safe?

I just keep thinking about the ask awhile back where someone asked "People telling me we're all going to get COVID now is causing me mental health issues, how can I handle it better?" and a large percentage of the answers were "We'll all get COVID!" which... isn't great.

I don't know, I'd love to have this be a place where I could discuss things and maybe be able to express a hopeful note, but it's just not, and that means people are being driven off. I accept Metafilter isn't the place for everyone to be able to have the conversations they want, but lets not pretend that the conversations you're having now don't come with a cost.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:44 PM on January 2 [55 favorites]


As someone who is a middle manager who just had to deal with a complete shut down of services from a COVID exposure, who has a superior insisting on in-person meetings which I am running out of excuses to avoid, I’m still not thrilled by the “we are all going to die” contingent. It reminds me of another supervisor who, last year, kept sending out emails about layoffs in agencies in other states to my reports, and I finally had to say “stop soothing your own anxieties by tormenting my reports.” Maybe ask yourself, “is this useful information, or am I just soothing myself at others’ expense?”
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:51 PM on January 2 [19 favorites]


gygesringtone, I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles with COVID and I wish we could be a place for you to find support.

There is an essay by Caitlin Flanagan about celebrities and cancer that I love (I'm a cancer patient) and that reminds me a bit of what you're expressing here. I may be way off the mark for you though.

When I can see an individual post is getting too doom and gloom for me, I will generally just skim it. I'm immunocompromised, and I do get panicky sometimes, but I don't really have the kind of extreme anxiety that would make it impossible for me to read. People all struggle in different ways, and I wish there were a way to make it better for everyone.
posted by FencingGal at 5:32 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Are people even saying "We're all going to die" because I'm mostly seeing a mix of "Everything is fine" and "I'm fairly worried because of my own personal situation". I don't see that much "I think everything will be fine" but I personally would have no problem with that. The 1918 pandemic eventually ended & this will too.
posted by bleep at 7:33 PM on January 2


Putting aside any unkind language, they weren't wrong, based on the situation at the time.

No, that's the narrative the wrong people told themselves, based on what they knew at the time. But other people understood the precautionary principle and people in (and American immigrants from), East Asian cities had different scientists with experience with SARS telling citizens to keep their masks on, scientists that the West didn't listen to. Lots of people, including American virologists, in the world already thought demasking was a premature idea, and they had objective reasons that had nothing to do with catastrophizing or doomsaying.
posted by polymodus at 11:06 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


When Long Haul COVID comes up, it's often with this air of "this is the worst thing I can imagine." And you know, I'm still in the middle of it almost 2 years later. It really really sucks, like I can go on for hours and hours about how awful it is. It's just that I'm kind of in the acceptance stage of grieving my lost self.

I have been a person who has commented sympathetically about long-haul COVID. I have a chronic condition of decades' standing, and then some new diminishments in middle age. I hate to think of someone new joining the community of the chronically ill (with something hard to diagnose and very difficult to treat), and your comment made me think I might have been a bit too negative. Because the community of "spoonies" is full of wonderful people who have been living it long enough to have useful ideas about working with doctors, making your home and workspace more accessible/less tiring, maintaining relationships, the complicated grief, and how to find ways to do the things that matter most to you. I can tell you, life still holds so much joy and so many pleasures, even if they seem "smaller" than the joys and gifts of your life Before.

I have energy limitations, but am always up to listen to people as they deal with a new disability or illness or limitation. You, or anyone else wanting someone to talk to—whether you're in the "acceptance" state or the "so fucking pissed off state," or any other state. Feel free to MeMail me; I'm happy to communicate by email, but for a Mefite I'd eve get on the phone or SKype.

The other day, I was at a bookstore, and there was another wheelchair user there, a young adult. Our eyes met, and she gave me a nod. Just just "a" nod. The, the disabled-solidarity acknowledgment that, until that moment, I had not known existed.

I nodded back, of course.

I'm familiar with these kinds of recognition nods from being queer, and from listening to Black people talk about their lives. But I didn't know it was a thing with disabled people. Friends who've been visibly disabled longer than I have said I wasn't imagining things—the nod of acknowledgment is totally a thing that happens.

Here is my nod of acknowledgment. And here is my hand in welcome. And here is my heart, which is very familiar with the emotional mess of anger, fear, grief, frustration, confusion, acceptance, joy, growth, anger again...,; and here is my gratitude, because your comment made me think that, it's all well and good to shake my head sadly, but it's another thing to consider that I might have something to offer people who are going through this.

My goal/plans for the new year was to try not to think, or plan, or try to figure anything out, but to allow myself to rest, and do some introspection and journaling, and just see what emergex. This is the first seed to sprout, but we're only 50 hours into it, so I'm kind of surprised I got a ping so quickly.

tl;dr Mefite with nearly 30 years of experience with a llfe-effecting, hard-to-treat condition, and about five years experience as a chair and scooter user, is happy to talk to other people needing a listening ear about a new, new-ish, changing, or existing chronic condition. I am good at listening and emotional support. MeMail me; phone or Skype if you prefer.
posted by Well I never at 11:25 PM on January 2 [32 favorites]


I wanted to add that I look like I'm new here, but I've been here since 2006 under previous user names. If you'd like to talk to me but check me out a bit more, I will share my previous usernames so you can see whether I seem like an emotionally trustworthy person. I bet I can also get at least an acknowledgement that I have been around a long time and the worst Metafilter sins I've committed are:

1. Carelessly, upon realizing I knew a poster, saying things in a comment that might identify her. Comment deleted; friendly reminder from Cortex.

2. Several times, years ago now, I have posted jokey comments in AskMe despite knowing they would be deleted, at that time probably by Jessamyn, to whom I express my sincerest apologies.
posted by Well I never at 11:36 PM on January 2


Just wanted to drop a link to Dr John Campbell's YouTube channel here.

...please don't. He does not read studies sufficiently critically (or accurately) to be trustworthy - and to be fair, as a retired nurse, with a PhD in nursing education, it's not to be expected that he have the expertise of an epidemiologist or a virologist or a molecular biologist or anyone doing active biomedical research. His tendency to uncritically accept half-assed and unreliable preliminary data (and to misinterpret preliminary data as being conclusive) is particularly visible in his embrace of ivermectin-related and vitamin-D-related crankery. This has most recently included claims that because ivermectin can inhibit the same protease that paxlovid does (at high concentrations in a petri dish), it's a great COVID-19 drug (and it's implied we should use it instead because it's cheaper, natch). Science-Based Medicine has a discussion on this argument and on the weaknesses of his claims, and here's an even more detailed (youtube) deconstruction of those claims from a professor in Singapore. Suffice it to say Campbell does not understand the papers he's using to back up these claims. A member of the UKHSA had to step forward to debunk his claims about ivermectin playing a major role in the trajectory of COVID-19 waves in Japan. A cardiologist has a similar take, and that cardiologist goes on to dissect (in a Twitter thread) how Campbell misinterprets an abstract from a conference (in biology and medicine, these are not equivalent to peer-reviewed papers) on potential cardiac side effects of the mRNA vaccines - as with the molecular biology and pharmacology of the paxlovid/ivermectin comparison, there are some basic problems with his interpretation of the abstract. There's even a COVID-19 misinformation section on Campbell's wiki page now.

None of this necessarily means that Campbell is ill-intentioned, or that he's knowingly promoting quackery - I've seen a number of people say that his commentary earlier on in the pandemic was more sound - but it does illustrate that he cannot be trusted to provide an accurate interpretation of ongoing research in fields beyond his actual area of expertise (nursing, treatment at the clinic level). He cannot help you "look at the facts as they are" because (in the most charitable interpretation) he doesn't understand the facts sufficiently well himself. In that context, his skill at communication can be misleading, because what he's clearly communicating are his own misconceptions.

Disinformation and unintentional misinformation (like this, or the "of course viruses evolve to be less nasty!" trope that pops up every time Omicron is described as "mild") and false optimism regarding miracle cures all end up increasing confusion and distrust, leaving us all worse off. I really wish we could avoid promulgating this sort of stuff in MeFi threads, because I think it ultimately feeds into the fear and stress and exhaustion and hopelessness that've prompted this post.
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 5:06 AM on January 3 [31 favorites]


There’s two specific types of Covid doomsaying/anxiety that I haven’t seen mentioned here and wanted to put out there because I find them so personally off-putting.

1) Be mindful that the things you might personally be avoiding for safety reasons are things that are unavoidable parts of life for some of us right here reading. I don’t have a car. I am privileged enough to live in a walkable area with many things close at hand, and to have the money for grocery delivery. But if I’m going to the pharmacy or seeing a friend (outdoors and masked), I’m getting on the bus to do so. Public transit isn’t even a major vector for Covid spread if I’m reading the studies correctly, and driving is of course hugely risky even without a pandemic, but I still see comments here and there asking why are so many people out on transit. I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home now, but that wasn’t always the case. Even if I cut absolutely everything but my work out of my life for Covid safety reasons I’d still need to get on the bus to the pharmacy for my medications. Even with that being a literally essential trip, the vibe can still feel judgmental. And honestly, I lived that work-and-pharmacy-only life for the first several months of pandemic, and I’m not doing it again. That doesn’t mean that I’m out at a packed event every day or coughing on grandparents. Please don’t imply that city people should never leave their houses.

2) Anything that implies that current humans are uniquely ignorant or selfish or lacking moral fiber because of the way the pandemic has played out, particularly in the US and UK. One of the things that’s given me great comfort and perspective during the pandemic is listening to Vaccine: The Human Story and realizing that anti-vaxxers have been with us starting from the days of the most primitive vaccines. Likewise, lots of people disobeyed safety measures during the London Blitz, which so many people trotted out early in the pandemic as the kind of national unity to strive for. It just seems like we’ve been muddling through disasters, bad actors and good actors alike, for all of human history. Maybe the unique thing now is just the massive platforms available to bad actors and grifters, not some new depth of ignorance or apathy.

I’ve been enjoying my friend Katherine Cross’s takes on the social aspects of the pandemic and the limits of individual actions; maybe you will too.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:26 AM on January 3 [28 favorites]


Happy, nonscary update! Little boss appears totally fine in today's Monday Zoom meeting, yay, and tripleyay, the grandbaby is still safe in the NICU because COVID patients have used up all the oxygen equipment she'd need to come home. So it's a happy new year so far.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:22 AM on January 3 [14 favorites]


I also skip comments when I see they include the phrase "death cult" or some variation of "they want us to die" (not in the current thread, but I've seen it elsewhere). I understand the fear and anxiety and frustration, but nobody wants to die and very few want others to die (though in moments of anger I've found myself thinking that way about the anti-vax crowd and certainly some politicians - and I would guess I'm not alone).

My sister is unvaccinated (though she is pro-mask), and it makes me crazy and sometimes furious, but I'm also watching her struggling with real fear. It isn't always easy to have compassion, but I try. It helps that I wouldn't be seeing her in person anyway.

I'm not arguing against people saying these things, but I personally find it very not helpful, and feel it's best for me to opt out of reading when someone is in that place.
posted by FencingGal at 6:26 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Public transit isn’t even a major vector for Covid spread if I’m reading the studies correctly, and driving is of course hugely risky even without a pandemic, but I still see comments here and there asking why are so many people out on transit.

If you rode the buses I ride, and saw as many people with their noses above their flimsy blue surgical masks let alone those wearing no masks at all, you would not be so sanguine.
posted by y2karl at 7:57 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


The point is people have no choice but to take public transit so maybe don't try to scare them that it's worse than they think based on your anecdotal experience and not theirs?

Do you have any evidence public transit is a major vector for covid, y2karl?
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:01 AM on January 3 [28 favorites]


Also, some people live in different places than you do. Public transit in my city is both pretty empty and pretty consistently full of well-masked people.
posted by sagc at 8:04 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Thank you, I appreciate. It's the whole mfing state. I'm stuck here and so are all my friends because of our elderly parents. I am so, so scared.

I'd just like you to know that it isn't literally all of us. Some of us try to do our part as best we can.

And just to hopefully set your mind a bit more at ease, the truly ridiculous case counts and frankly incredible positivity rates (in the sense that it's difficult to find them credible, even though they are) didn't start until quite recently, so if your employer's YOLO shit was much before Christmas it wasn't a near guarantee of someone in the room having COVID like it would be today.

Seriously guys, right now in much of Florida around 1 in 20 people at the low end have COVID. That's not doomsaying, that's just what happens when the government is run by people who are actively trying to impede public health measures, nearly half the state can't be bothered to wear a mask, and nearly a quarter of the population either can't or refuses to get vaccinated.

But somehow I'm not pessimistic at all. It's going to be a tough few weeks, but it's looking like it's going to be just that. A month or month and a half from now things should be back to where they were before this latest spike, when the chance of running into someone with COVID was pretty low. It's still going to be a cloudy day, but the sun will come back up again. This (metaphorical) winter won't be as long as the ones in the past.

Control the risks you can control, so wear a mask indoors or in crowded spaces and maybe don't break out the chainsaw or the extra tall ladder for now and we'll all have a good chance of getting through this latest round. If you're somewhere not yet so far up the curve as Florida, make what preparation you can to reduce your need to go out in public for a few weeks as things peak in your area so that you are minimizing your risk of getting in a car crash and can sit out the peak as much as possible.

No need for doom, just do what you can and be satisfied that you've minimized your risk to the degree that you can. That's all a human can ever do. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it's enough, but it never does. We always ask what more we could have done when something bad happens. That's part of being human.
posted by wierdo at 8:26 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


No need for doom, just do what you can and be satisfied that you've minimized your risk to the degree that you can. That's all a human can ever do. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it's enough, but it never does. We always ask what more we could have done when something bad happens. That's part of being human.

This is basically where I have landed.

My job, a little less now but still to a significant degree, is to worry about potential problems that might crop up along a proposed course of action that others will try to thwart. Honestly, in my first job, having an unanticipated problem pop up was, in the mind of my manager, one of the worst things that could possibly happen. I was expected to actually sacrifice normal human sleeping hours to avoiding this.

And...unanticipated bad stuff still happened! Just in my narrow little sphere, which admittedly was the complex mechanism of multimillion-dollar litigation, but that's nothing compared to human society, much less the universe.

I think of myself as a smart person, but the older I get, the more I see the limits to the smartest people's ability to know things with certainty and predict the future. Much less control it. And here it's just me and my limited resources. I try to take precautions based on my understanding of the facts, balancing competing needs within myself and between myself and those around me. But I'm not going to be any smarter, wiser, or more in control if I hyperfixate on the worst possible outcomes. Even if it temporarily makes me feel that way--and the ultimate emotional tradeoff isn't worth it for me, particularly as a person with anxiety. That's what can make the COVID threads almost unusable for me, even though I'd like to hear others' opinions and about facts I may have overlooked.
posted by praemunire at 9:13 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


The point is people have no choice but to take public transit so maybe don't try to scare them that it's worse than they think based on your anecdotal experience and not theirs?

I am a person with no choice living in Seattle with a bus system otherwise beyond compare in terms of service.
My anecdotal evidence is shared by my fellow friends of no choice. Bus drivers generally do not enforce mask compliance because at least local TV news reports about rider attacks are up, if not actual occurrence.

But as omicron infects with a far lower viral load than the previous variants, I would like to think I come by my ill ease for good reason. And by the way, how many of these studies of public transit safety are pre-omicron or post-omicron?

On the relative positive tip here is How to Avoid Omicron on Public Transit.

I don't want to be a doomsayer but let's not get all Pollyanna -- these are scary times. Now I will bow out.
posted by y2karl at 9:15 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


(P.S. Don Pepino, it was fucking ridiculous that you had to go through that.)
posted by praemunire at 9:16 AM on January 3


My anecdotal evidence is shared by my fellow friends of no choice. Bus drivers generally do not enforce mask compliance because at least local TV news reports about rider attacks are up, if not actual occurrence.

It's quite different on NYC buses, at least in Manhattan. Just saying.
posted by praemunire at 9:17 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


From what I have read, I have to agree.
posted by y2karl at 9:22 AM on January 3


I don't want to be a doomsayer but let's not get all Pollyanna -- these are scary times. Now I will bow out.

What is the point of this thread?!? Next time please post a helpful link and skip the attempt to scare people.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:25 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Actually the link shared How to Avoid Omicron on Public Transit mentions and links to additional sources concluding based on cited evidence that public transportation is not a significant transmission risk.
posted by artificialard at 9:29 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


I'd just like you to know that it isn't literally all of us.
Well, yeah, but that's not a comfort. It's not literally all of us, not you and me, but it is the ones that count. It's the ones I'm likely to run into when shopping for parents or, as I've explained exhaustively, when dragged into the workplace.

Is 12/16 "much before Christmas?" It was 12/14 for the retreat, 12/15 for the waffle party, and 12/16 for the "brainstorm." I don't count the holiday party because they did that intelligently. It was outside because planning for it started much earlier in the year, by necessity, since it's big and complicated. That planning occurred back when everybody was still being rational about the pandemic, before the governor really started doubling down on the demented totalitarianism, before what seems to have been a collective loss of reason at the end of the year, when work started going hogwild with the popup meetings.

We know since early 2020 that a lot of transmission occurs before symptoms, before the time when people would be getting tested and causing the "incredible" numbers you cite. Thus, right before numbers blow up in your area but when you're seeing them climb around you is right exactly the hell when you should start to curtail your unnecessary frolicking in groups indoors, EVEN IF that means that people have to make the supreme sacrifice and brainstorm at their desks over Zoom. EVEN IF they have to wait a whole two months to make waffles together or spend five hours crammed in a room snacking on string cheese while watching a powerpoint about what color their workplace thinks their personality is.

Certainly after the numbers rocket work should have the sense to cut out the unnecessary assembling, but nope! The call just went out this morning over e-mail for people to volunteer to drive other people to big huge indoor eat 'n' network thing this Wednesday, an oldtimes regular thing that used to happen four times a year but has been cancelled since spring of 2020. It's back on the calendar in 2022 just in time for the most-contagious variant yet and the highest ever case numbers. It does not fill me with confidence to know that you and me both know this is not wise because you and me are not in control, Governor Toonces is.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:30 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Ok, thanks, ASF Tod und Schwerkraft. I've tagged my post for deletion. Obviously I do not wish to promulgate wrong information.

I think this could be an example of the kind of tensions this post is about. I am not a scientist in any way shape or form, and have been listening to and recommending Dr Campbell on good faith. His channel, being seemingly scientifically based, consistent, and providing access to information otherwise inaccessible to me, has helped me feel less anxiety and like I am better able to make good choices. I now see that this was misguided, but this is sort of the helpless Catch-22 one is in as a non-scientific observer trying to stay informed beyond what is just in the news, and do the right thing. It would be nice to have had this framed as "hey here's a head's up, this might not be as reliable a source as you think", rather than "your behaviour is is everything that is wrong with this conversation, wilfully harmful, and actively making the situation worse". It's a contradiction to expect someone "unintentionally misinformed" to know that right? So maybe we could point people towards better information with a bit more understanding of the difficulties a lay person might have with finding it themselves, and of the very human urge to turn towards what appears to be an informed, reasonable, scientifically-based authority in extremely uncertain times.
posted by Balthamos at 10:04 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


> Optimism is not a wise tactic for dealing with a virus.

"The Fifth Sacred Thing" is a stellar novel for reading about sci-fi characters having discussions about optimism vs. pessimism, and when it's time to give up the former for the latter. It's by Starhawk, and it's science fiction, and it does represent well that the full range of human emotions remain in play during a pandemic. I don't intend to persuade anyone to one side or the other of the view, but I will point out one thing I've learned from it, that remains applicable no matter what viewpoint one prefers:

Devotion to a given approach is not a wise tactic for dealing with reality.
posted by Callisto Prime at 10:47 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Is 12/16 "much before Christmas?" It was 12/14 for the retreat, 12/15 for the waffle party, and 12/16 for the "brainstorm."

Yes. Omicron moves much more quickly than OG or Delta did/does. It's only 2-3 days between exposure and symptoms. It was clear by then where things were going to go, so it was still dumb of them to take the risk, but the wave hadn't yet gotten to the point where gatherings of that size were a near guarantee of exposure.

I definitely hear you about feeling like we're all fucked because so many people are on board with DeSantis and his quack Surgeon General's idiocy, but you can protect yourself. My boss has been on airplanes at least twice a month through the entire damn pandemic and in clients' offices pretty much constantly and has yet to fall ill despite Delta tearing through said offices. He does what he can to minimize contact and is religious with wearing an N95. It remains to be seen whether Omicron finally breaks his record, but taking your own precautions does clearly have an effect. But yes, it's still demoralizing to see everyone around you having just decided it doesn't matter any more because they don't understand what doctors mean when they say "mild."
posted by wierdo at 11:01 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Well I never, for the clue about why so many people are referring to spoons, here.
posted by Rash at 11:07 AM on January 3


> I don't go in COVID threads anymore because it seems like there's no room for people like me.

My experience of the pandemic was that my three gender dysphoria surgeries were in February 2020, February 2021, and December 2021. When everyone else was crumbling under despair and burning out, I was seeing my body dysphoria levels drop rapidly to zero, and for the first time in my life, I'm able to exist at peace without despair and disgust being the primary two emotions produced about my body every day of my life. The dysphoria is gone. It's like a scab that has finally healed, and it has been a transcendent experience to live through.

There is no place in discussions here about the pandemic for me to share my story of the pandemic. Not because any specific threads are necessarily focused on the negatives, but because everyone around me is taking the stance that a pervasive threat to us all must snuff out the joy that we can still take from our lives. And that's completely incompatible with me fighting to live and exist as I have, in so many medical recoveries, I am so exhausted of recoveries, over the past two years.

I don't mean "let's have an FP about positive pandemic experiences", and I don't mean "let's stop talking about what's doomy about the pandemic", but I think that Gygesringtone's comment (quoted above) is pointing to the essence of what this grey post ought to be focusing on most clearly:

> I feel like the conversations about Long Haul here are using my condition as a fairy tale to scare people into behaving and don't really have a whole lot of room for people like me who actually have it

All of these discussions are so high-pressure, that there is no room left for sharing personal stories of nuance and grey. It's time for all of us to stop "remaining vigilant", to set down our picket signs of "get vaccinated" and "wear a mask", and to especially stop trying to persuade others into doing what we think is right — not with fear, not with vigilance, not at all. In any other covid discussion, this is the sentence where the commenter would have to say "I'm vaccinated" if they are, because if they don't, their words will get twisted into a tool of fear and shame by the well-intended vigilants and wielded against all participants, so I'm consciously leaving out my vaccination just to hammer this point home.

I am deathly afraid of you all in particular because you're such good people that I'm staying silent rather than sharing my stories. I'm staying silent rather than lace my stories with the litany of disclaimers it takes for the vigilant to let it slide unremarked. I'm staying silent rather than letting the nuance of my life be turned into weapons against others, even if I disagree with them strongly.

I don't care whether threads are optimistic or pessimistic, but I care deeply that threads be tolerant when someone feels positively, and just let that coexist with the negativity without trying to "circle it back" to use it to make yet another point about how negative everything is, or how necessary vigilance is, or any of it. We need to tolerate that dissonance, because that dissonance is the human condition, and without it we're losing the stories that we need to hear most: The ones we haven't yet heard.

If I could offer up a single, simple rule that any one of you could follow personally to make this right, here it is: Never repeat yourself about the pandemic twice, across all discussions at MeFi. Once you say something in a thread once, try to never say it again. If that means you don't say much about the pandemic for a while, that's fine. If you slip up, that's fine. The point is to try and not repeat yourself. Yes, you will have to move on without commenting when someone says "masks don't work". Someone else that hasn't yet posted a "why masks work" comment will use their once-only chance to speak about that to attend to it. Let it go, or flag it for the mods if it's in science-untruth form and then let it go.

Eventually you'll start remembering and sharing the smaller stories, the more nuanced things, the complicated joy of not hearing traffic for three months during mandatory lockdown, the sadness of not having been hugged in a year, and you'll share those, once. And then you'll think of a story about mixing up the salt and sugar when baking during the bread shortage. And then you'll remember feeling conflicted about your grumpy neighbor dying of Covid, or that you miss walking dogs and chatting with people at the park, or who knows what.

I miss those stories, and we need those stories to heal.
posted by Callisto Prime at 11:43 AM on January 3 [39 favorites]


One of the thing I've hated about Dune for a long time is this whole Fear is the great mindkiller schtick because whether true or not, as any wild animal would tell you if they could, Fear is the great teacher as well.
posted by y2karl at 11:59 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Callisto Prime, thank you so much for your comment, and for sharing your feelings and your experience here.

I am SO happy for you that your surgeries have been SO successful and helpful for you, and I simply can't tell you how glad I am that your despair has been replaced by peace.

I am sending you a gigantic hug, if you'd like that.

I don't know if you've seen the weekend MetaTalkTail threads that often pop up around the weekends, encouraging MeFites to talk about any- and every-thing they'd like to - EXCEPT politics; I'd like to invite you to share your happiness in one of those, if you'd like to - I'm sure there are lots of other MeFites who would like to exult with you about your healing and your newfound happiness.

I am SO happy for you!
posted by kristi at 12:00 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Thanks, I appreciate the invite and kindness. In this specific case, the point of my sharing is to demonstrate that my story would be essentially unwelcome in a "normal" Covid thread: anything positive can be used against you in a thread at large, it has no connection to the usual fear-and-vigilance topics, and there's no lesson that can be learned from it — so it's only because this is a MeTa that I feel like I can bring it up at all. I'm so lucky to have such a bright story to share that I can cast a clear shadow of the problem for others to see and consider.
posted by Callisto Prime at 12:12 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Luckily we aren't wild animals and can treat each other with more kindness than the brutality of tooth and claw.

Thank you for your comments, Calistoga Prime, I am taking them to heart.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:23 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Balthamos. Sorry you felt snapped at for mentioning Dr Campbell. I am a scientist in some way shape or form [it's in the name] - but my crap detector could do with some tuning. Back in April 2020, I blogged approvingly about a covid epidemiology study fronted by John Ioannidis from Stanford. I took those results [that the death rate for Covid was about the same as seasonal 'flu] at face value because a) Ioannidis [MultiMetaPrev] had a mighty track record in debunking some of the certainties of the scientific establishment b) they were comforting for me. Even before the ink on my blog-post was dry Andrew Gelman, a competent statistician from Columbia U., had skewered the Ioannidis paper as fatally flawed on at least two "utter noob" accounts. He wasn't the only one and respectable scientists in a self-righteous pile-on suggested that Ioannidis should be sacked, shunned and never be permitted to publish again. Nobody likes to be wrong and it took a few weeks before I was able to get sufficient back-bone to retract my appro of the Ioannidis covid paper and explain to readers why he - and I - were wrong. Luckily few people read and nobody comments my blog but that didn't stop my face being red. But in a way it's okay: in science if you're never wrong you aren't really doing science.

At about the same time, I watched an early report by Dr Campbell and [providentially] found he was talking bollix about an area of immunology I knew something about, so I resolved not to bother tuning into that channel in future. And shortly after that I stopped bloggin' about covid because I couldn't put in the work to say anything useful or helpful. It is really hard work to critically evaluate scientific reports: peer-review of a single paper is meant to take a couple of days of work but the pressure of work in modern science is such that a couple of hours is longer than the average time devoted to this necessary but unrewarded task. So a lot of chaff gets published.

I have been following Rohin Francis the cardiologist at MedLife crisis [cited by ASF T&S above]. But in his latest vlog he resolves to give up the ould covid for the while because he is dog tired and unable to relate of the polarization and politicization of response to sars mask vaxx and other four letter words. So I guess there will be naught for our comfort there in future.
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:31 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Calistoga Prime, heh. Autocorrect strikes again -- Autocorrect is the mind killer. Although Callisto Prime is not without effervescence.

By the way, tiny frying pan, fear is just as a great teacher for cats and dogs, too.
posted by y2karl at 12:45 PM on January 3


I really don't know what you're so pokey, y2karl but wish you weren't. We're all struggling.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:48 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


...but why would you want to teach a dog or cat with fear? Or anyone or anything, for that matter, with fear? On purpose?
posted by cooker girl at 12:50 PM on January 3 [9 favorites]


because everyone around me is taking the stance that a pervasive threat to us all must snuff out the joy that we can still take from our lives

Obviously my situation isn't even remotely comparable to yours, Callisto Prime, but one of the reasons I did my temporary bounce in 2020 is because of the NYC (?) pandemic check-in thread, which had been pretty slice-of-life--good, bad, and interesting things people were experiencing--until people started yelling that talking about anything positive (I believe it was a fucking scone recipe and the thanks for it) somehow made the thread "inaccessible" to people who were suffering the most. (Rather than, say, starting a thread specifically for sorrow only where people were asked to be appropriately grave, which I guess was impossible?) So nothing but grief was acceptable, even if you were a NYCer living alone in the worst and scariest part of the whole pandemic to date.

Which is to say, I understand where you are coming from and I am extremely happy that you were able to have such a good experience in such difficult times, and sorry that you don't feel you can talk about it here.
posted by praemunire at 12:56 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Modern training theory holds that fear is a shitty teacher for dogs, actually.
posted by praemunire at 12:57 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


y2karl, could you maybe explain a bit more what your goal is here? Because you seem to be in a thread about COVID-19 doomsaying, commenting that "no, doomsaying is good, actually, and you should all be as afraid as I am, because you'll learn a lesson"?

If that's not what you're saying, maybe consider being a bit more explicit. Right now, it just seems like you're pissed off that people didn't take your dislike of public transit as gospel.
posted by sagc at 12:57 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


I think I have up thread. You are reading my comments in the most negative way possible.
posted by y2karl at 1:00 PM on January 3


You've just said that fear is good for teaching. You have yet to explain what we should be be learning. I really don't think I am reading your comments too negatively; they've been a) very short and b) either about not taking buses or about how fear is good for training.

Can you not see how your comments about your own experience on buses might be non-universal? Again, is your argument that your level of fear is the correct one, and our levels of fear are insufficient? Because that's definitely what I'm getting from your comments, and they're just so... tasteless, I guess, is the kindest way to put it? Tasteless in this thread.
posted by sagc at 1:05 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


I am not in any way saying this with any malice whatsoever: we are reading your comments the way they are written. They're very short, very blunt, and have little, if any, other context. I know that being misread is very frustrating. The one longer comment you made is nicely explanatory; it's the short ones that are hard to read in any way other than confrontational.

I sincerely hope that helps.
posted by cooker girl at 1:05 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the offers of support above, I do have a really good network and don't need this to be the place for me to talk about COVID.

It'd just be nice if it had a space for me to talk. My stories of deciding how to go about the business of rebuilding don't seem to be appropriate while others are terrified of crumbling. There's more than one truth of this moment in time, and some of them just don't mix together well, and if we choose to embrace one, then we're rejecting others. I wish there was more recognition of that on the part of folks who's responses read like they think that the only way to be realistic is to only address the negatives.

I don't know. We're all hurting, we're all scared, and it's just as human to assume "this is scary, so it must be true" in a frightening situation as it is to think "this gives me hope, so it must be true", and it's also just as likely to fail as a method of prediction.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:44 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Mod note: A few comments deleted. Please avoid turning the thread into a back and forth discussion.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:47 PM on January 3


One thing I will add here and it is advice I have given before -- even if I have ignored since at times -- if someone rubs you the wrong way, click on their profile and scan their comment history. It reveals a person if not in the whole, then at least in many parts.

I once thundered into a thread guns a-blazing at something warriorqueen had written -- about the internet cluelessness of Boomers, about which she was basically right -- and then later clicked on her comment history and saw her as a person. With a history. She has since become one of the members I admire the most, based upon her subsequent contributions to this site.
posted by y2karl at 2:18 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Check their comment history and their tags, too. You will see a human being rather than an evil sockpuppet of your imagination.
posted by y2karl at 2:26 PM on January 3


y2karl, I say this with kindness, I think it may be a good time to walk away from this thread for a bit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:27 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


y2karl, people are responding to your comments in this thread. Maybe consider that some of the work is on you, to be clear and understandable, rather than on other people to go read all the other - presumably not-dismissive - things you've written on entirely different topics.
posted by sagc at 2:29 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the offers of support above, I do have a really good network and don't need this to be the place for me to talk about COVID.

It'd just be nice if it had a space for me to talk. My stories of deciding how to go about the business of rebuilding don't seem to be appropriate while others are terrified of crumbling.


At the same time, man, I'm one of those people who is way more frightened of long Covid than of death--in part because I already manage one disability and it is not currently well supported, so I am metaphorically limping along while I try to balance it against the ongoing mess of *waves hand* all the rest of this ongoing tire fire. And I really, really want to be more functional right now than I am. (This is not an isolated-to-me fear either, of course.)

I would love it if there was a space for you to talk and for me to listen, to talk about what surviving looks like for you and what we can do to support long Covid sufferers. One thing I have learned from listening to people with a wide range of disability experiences is that the wider world is often uncomfortable with the realities of our lives: disabled survivors are often either erased or lumped in with deaths, but we go on and we need support and our needs don't stop happening just because the collective public attention span gets pulled to something else.

Healing takes a lot longer to happen than damage does, you know? Disability is less terrifying than death, when you break it down into pieces that can be engaged with on their own terms and take the time to become familiar with it.* But that barrier of familiarity is hard to meet sometimes. I worry about all the new disabled people that long Covid is bringing into the world: I don't know where their support networks are, and I never hear about their lives without the spectre of "worse than death" appended. I want a realistic picture of what can happen not only so that I can understand it for my own fear purposes but also so that I can support long Covid folks as best I can, accommodate for needs in my work plans, and keep basic realities in mind as a fellow human in the world. Those stories... often aren't thick on the ground out there.

*(Because I know someone is going to react to me saying this by thinking, omg what if she takes fewer precautions because she's less afraid!, I still really fucking don't want another disability. But high anxiety tends to lead either to paralysis or to impulsive, stupid fucking decisions, and I want to take some of the ambient terror out of my life so I can act effectively and realistically as much as I can within my own sphere of control. )
posted by sciatrix at 2:30 PM on January 3 [14 favorites]


Thanks for that, Gygesringtone.
My daughter has long-Covid (March 2020) and we're navigating a lot of the same stuff.
posted by chococat at 3:29 PM on January 3


I think a good long Covid FPP, carefully framed, would be valuable — something different than the usual Covid threads.
posted by ssg at 4:08 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Since I appear to have started this grouchy tangent about fear as teacher by talking about using public transit, I just want to add that:

1) Here in Philly, I’d put the public transit masking rate in the 80-90some percent range, depending on route and mode of transit. I’m also starting to see increasing numbers of KN95s and similar.

2) I just came back to work today after a week’s vacation to find out that two of my patients died of Covid while I was out, one is on a pretty worrying amount of oxygen, and two more are hospitalized with milder cases. Don’t talk to me about fear as a teacher until you’ve read all their hospital notes.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:12 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


"The dysphoria is gone. It's like a scab that has finally healed, and it has been a transcendent experience to live through. There is no place in discussions here about the pandemic for me to share my story of the pandemic."

I'm so happy this has happened for you!

We have had some MetaTalkTail threads where we talked about good things from the pandemic, or at least silver linings. Parts of this have been the hardest time in my life -- distance learning, man -- but parts of it have been lovely. I learned to paint, which I take so much joy in. I have spent so much time just hanging out with my children, going to great lengths to amuse ourselves, discovering a shared love of old sitcoms, watching the entire Disney back catalog, and that was wonderful. I'm mostly happy they're back in school, for all of our mental health, but I will never forget how resilient and independent and interdependent and helpful they all were during the early months of the pandemic, and how much time we all spent just hanging out and enjoying each others' weirdnesses. I still start to cry when I think or talk about my kid's third grade teacher's incredible grace in March of 2020, reassuring very frightened children and families and guiding the children to coping.

I'm scared, and I'm frequently angry (at jerks who won't mask or get vaxxed), but there have absolutely been moments of joy and transcendence that grew out of this very, very weird Time of Covid.

Because posts on the Blue springboard off a link, I think there's just a lot more links to public health information, stories about communities/individuals who have been heavily negatively impacted and desperately need help, and similar. But if there was a lovely lyrical Medium post about the surprise joys of the pandemic, I would enjoy that. And if people want to have another MetaTalkTails (or just a general MetaTalk thread) that focuses in that direction, we can absolutely do that!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:17 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


I think I posted something basically to this effect at the beginning of the pandemic, but it still feels applicable to me: part of the inherent friction of talking about this is that we all have a deep well personal experiences with dealing with this pandemic, we've all had to make myriad decisions about tradeoffs and risk levels, and therefore it's just really easy to treat other people making different choices as an inherent rejection or refutation of our own way of handling things. Which it isn't of course, given that we're all also living with vastly different situations, different geographies, different resources, different responsibilities, different risk profiles, etc. But I find myself having to remember in discussions not to react as though someone making choices that are within the realm of reasonable in terms of public health (as far as I can tell, basically everybody on here fits into this category) but different than I would choose as though they're making those choices at me. And likewise, I try to be careful about being prescriptive in cases where it's not really called for, or directed at a target that's never going to actually see it.

All of this is easier said than done, which is one reason I've pretty much avoided COVID conversations on here as well.
posted by eponym at 6:41 PM on January 3 [9 favorites]


After seeing how the thread was starting to go, I stepped away for a bit. I did not want to get argue-y and I also wasn't sure it'd do my emotional health very well. There are a few straw men (arguments I wasn't making) and a few changes from grayscale to black-and-white which also make things inaccurate.

Nothing was meant to imply the binaryness of outright bans, that people cannot talk about their fear and what they're going through. What I was trying to point out -- because I am a sufferer myself, and I know I'm not the only one here (if I was, I'd go try to deal with it on my own) -- is to be thoughtful/mindful about such expressions.

Some people have anxiety, depression and trauma disorders. One of the symptoms of those are an inability to properly visualize the future. For me, at least, that takes the form of not really being able to visualize a happy future or outcome - making me particularly vulnerable to visions of doom (such as, yes, that apartment comment, which made me think about the length of space between my own apartment door and my neighbor's). I can't really visualize a happy ending to this. My brain is in slog-down-for-a-forever-dystopia mode. I think that's the case for a lot of people.

It's not a binary question of yes or no. It's not a [condition: if-you're-thoughtful-of-the-anxious] then [regulation: you cannot speak of fear, etc.]. I think Callisto Prime poses the question in its proper grayscale very well. I don't know if I have an answer for her.

There is also a question here of pessimism in a pandemic as a survival strategy. I will say this as a thought, just speaking from my personal experience. I have a soldier-self I present to the outside world when I must be tough. One thing I've begun to realize, as I've pushed him to take the wheel more and more in pandemic times, to the point where he as a separate mannerism is exhausted and has occasionally refused to manifest (I am perhaps using DID language and it's more IFS or parts work, I imagine), is that my bodily resources are not inexhaustible and that it is all one machine, whether I see the connections or not.

Continual pessimism leads to a toll on the body and immune system which, itself, is not wise in a pandemic. IMO, hope is not an optional thing.

As for fear being a teacher, fear does teach, but it's a cruel teacher that does a great deal of damage with its lessons and can often leave the student in an emotionally unstable state. The Litany Against Fear was supposedly inspired by Shakespeare, who in Julius Caesar said, "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come." I'll put aside the question of whether it is cowardice, but the first clause of that Shakespeare quote is useful in that it points out that fear causes the act of death to play out a million times cognitively, and that indeed is a killer of the mind. It's like running a resource-hogging program that has very little value but to reiterate a single line over and over again.

Thanks for letting me blah-blah-blah here. I don't have a talent for brevity.
posted by MollyRealized at 6:50 PM on January 3 [17 favorites]


Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. A group of my family (cautious with masks and exposure, have biological-science-related degrees) have just been diagnosed with COVID, and my kid is back at school today. Reading the main thread was a bit disheartening.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:22 AM on January 4


The policy I've landed on with social media is that I am very willing to continue following, reading, and taking seriously people who say that I am not doing enough or that I should be doing something differently, regarding covid and the several other big existential threats (unnecessary to list) looming over the past few years. I unfollow and avoid as much as I can the ones who think the main problem is that I am not afraid enough. I am afraid enough.
posted by lampoil at 12:06 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


As a data point—anecdote, YMMV—I stopped reading MetaFilter after the slog that was 2016, and found that it did wonders for my mood and disposition.

I regret that that's the case, because this is still one of the smartest and most heartfelt communities I've ever belonged to, and I feel my window looking out onto the world is shrunken by my not being present here more often. But I also find that, when I dip back in, there's a recurring pattern: I find myself really engrossed and grateful to be reading discussions here, but invariably run into something so astoundingly bleak and cynical and nihilistic—not just the despair, but the spiteful refusal to accept anything but the worst possible interpretation of any given thing, no matter how momentous or trivial—and duck back out again, for however many months.

Despair is obviously, to some extent, a reasonable reaction to COVID! (And to modern America, and to climate change, and to oh-so-many other things.) It's not like this is the only community that struggles with it. But the point that other commenters have made, which is that MetaFilter has a tendency towards apocalyptic thinking, feels incredibly apt to me as a now-mostly-lurker.
posted by rorgy at 2:20 PM on January 4 [20 favorites]


What this place reminds me of is newsgroups and Usenet. (And now I'm dating myself).

But on many groups, there would eventually be a core group of posters who'd already pretty much discussed what there was to be discussed on a topic. Usually they'd put it in an FAQ since they were tired of having the conversation. But when a new person arrived excited to talk about the thing, the existing group would sigh and roll their eyes and point them at the FAQ because the group had already reached consensus on a topic.

Metafilter has successfully driven out anyone not within a relatively narrow liberal-left band, and the reaction has always been "good, didn't want those posters anyway!"

But like pretty much every lefty group I've been involved with, the turning on and devouring each other like stressed rats wins out, so now it's not just enough to agree with a liberal slate of ideas, the correct answer is apocalyptic nihilism or you'll get somebody bursting in saying they don't give any presents at Christmas because they're busy thinking about the death of the planet or they don't drive cars because every trip in a car kills at least 10 Amazon rainforest.

(I personally used to check the site daily and read many of the threads while nowadays I glance at it when I remember to every now and again because reading people who agree with me doesn't make for very interesting discussuon).

As the people less and less willing to get gloom-trolled trickle out, the acceptable ideological range keeps narrowing until threads are, like on Usenet, a few people who agree on everything congratulating themselves on agreeing on everything while wondering why new people don't bother posting.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:33 PM on January 4 [27 favorites]



But like pretty much every lefty group I've been involved with, the turning on and devouring each other like stressed rats wins out,

Not the case at all with the lefty groups I've been involved in and continue to be involved in!
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:55 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Because posts on the Blue springboard off a link, I think there's just a lot more links to public health information, stories about communities/individuals who have been heavily negatively impacted and desperately need help, and similar. But if there was a lovely lyrical Medium post about the surprise joys of the pandemic, I would enjoy that. And if people want to have another MetaTalkTails (or just a general MetaTalk thread) that focuses in that direction, we can absolutely do that!

I mean, we just tried this, and people didn't really seem to be up for having anything but a doom and gloom discussion. I even made sure to participate and try and steer the conversation with a nice little hopeful story. But even after a note from a mod that people are allowed to be happy, my nice little hopeful story, which was at least half acknowledging that bad things also exist was met with "bad things exist, so you're wrong!"

So I just don't know. Like, seriously, how much energy should I have to spend convincing people that my reactions aren't wrong just because they're informed by something other than despair? I think I just need to be done now. Like maybe if I wasn't running at 65% on a good day anyway, or wasn't just run down by all the crap everyone else is, or whatever I'd have it in me to plead with others... but just like they're too exhausted to spend a minute considering that there's no one right way to feel right now, I'm too exhausted too keep trying to explain it to them. I'll let other continue to process things the way they need too, and just continue to do my processing somewhere else.

Would've been nice though.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:52 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


I don't think the relentless negativism is part of every leftist group, it doesn't seem to exist on some other forums. I don't think it's more than a small minority on Metafilter.

I'm really not sure what it is about. Sometimes it seems like psychological catastrophizing. If so, people who catastrophize often aren't even aware that they're doing it, they're firmly convinced that they're judging the siutation objectively.

So you can't really get through to them by telling them not to be too negative, or to consider things more calmly. In their minds, being calmly objective is exactly what they're doing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:27 AM on January 8


Ok, flabdablet's most recent post in that thread is reprehensible. It's like the reducto ad absurdum of the problem described here, but, of course, sincere.

I think there needs to be stronger mod action on this, because there evidently are people here who think any joy needs to be extinguished with the most sanctimony and, honestly, cruelty, possible
posted by sagc at 12:52 AM on January 9


I deleted that within 2 minutes of it being flagged. I'm not going to ban the member at this point, unless they come back with more of the same, because they don't usually participate in this way. We've already asked people in that thread to dial back the doom stuff and make an effort to be kind. We don't have magical powers!
posted by taz (staff) at 1:03 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Sorry about that! Glad it was deleted. I'm not looking for a banning, but something like a banner, it direct messages to users, or punitive tempbans, or some other management technique.
posted by sagc at 1:16 AM on January 9


a lovely lyrical Medium post about the surprise joys of the pandemic

I'm absolutely baffled by this thread and the apparent consensus that the real pandemic is people being mean.
posted by dmh at 4:00 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


It's illuminating to look back at one of the recent Covid threads whose now-proven-incorrect title is a reminder for all of us to be humble in our pronouncements of opinion: "‘No evidence’ Omicron less severe than Delta, say UK researchers."

And praise for the moderator who deleted at least one recent comment that was attempting to be droll but came off as borderline anti-vax.
posted by PhineasGage at 4:12 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


dmh: the apparent consensus that the real pandemic is people being mean.

I don't understand where you get this from, and I've really tried. What I'm seeing is very different, and it looks more like: there is a real pandemic, and people being overly gloomy makes it harder for many of us to deal with that.
People being mean is not even the topic at hand.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:28 AM on January 9 [15 favorites]


Well, I'm sorry about that. Thanks for trying to understand.

For my part what I don't understand is where the idea that Covid threads are filled with "we're all gonna die" / doomsaying comes from. Reading recent Covid threads I just don't see it. Clearly others perceive it differently, and that's fine, just not my impression. The pandemic impacts all of us in different ways and degrees and each of us have our own anxieties and concerns.

But then I come across the notion of "a lovely lyrical Medium post about the surprise joys of the pandemic". My uncle was admitted to the hospital last week, but in this thread the (mod-supported) sentiment seems to be that there need to be more "lovely lyrical posts about the surprise joys of the pandemic". It's, well, baffling.
posted by dmh at 7:32 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


My uncle was admitted to the hospital last week, but in this thread the (mod-supported) sentiment seems to be that there need to be more "lovely lyrical posts about the surprise joys of the pandemic". It's, well, baffling.

Then don't participate in those threads. It's okay to skip threads you're not into. I skip lots of threads because they're just not my thing. People deal with things differently and for some of us, a little joy is helpful.

And I'm sorry about your uncle. That's awful and I hope he's okay.
posted by mochapickle at 7:39 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I think we are simply seeing two different styles of dealing with the pandemic; they are both valid, but they are very different, and they clash. And each of them can seem hurtful to someone whose dealing style is the other one.

Some of us need to talk about our fears, angers and frustrations, and need to feel that those feelings are shared and acknowledged.

Some of us need to give voice to, and read about, hope and optimism... and share those feelings, so they can be fed, and grow.

Neither of these needs is wrong.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:06 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


It's illuminating to look back at one of the recent Covid threads whose now-proven-incorrect title is a reminder for all of us to be humble in our pronouncements of opinion: "‘No evidence’ Omicron less severe than Delta, say UK researchers."

That was a reasonable conclusion to draw from the available evidence from the UK at that time. Now more evidence is available and we can draw a different conclusion. That's fine.
posted by ssg at 8:40 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


Re: that particular instance, it's always good to remember that "the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence." More generally, I am not saying we don't have useful hypotheses to work with at any point in time. But everyone here at MetaFilter should be more modest in our definitive statements. If we more readily acknowledge that this awful situation is changing rapidly and constantly - as is our knowledge - it might help temper both the "it's all a disaster" and "it's all going to be fine" viewpoints we are discussing here. In addition to remembering that each of has our own unique personal risk calculus and our own unique emotional way of dealing with crises.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:54 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


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