Nina Gaby

Essays, art, and healthcare

Notes on lockdowns, our soggy collective unconscious, and the endlessness of the To Do lists


My reminder list remains static. I seem to always have the same things on it: Find bills in mess, pay bills. Bring in wood. Treadmill. Write something new. Submit something old. Write up evaluations. Vacuum. Holiday cards. Birthday cards. Throw shit out. Vacuum. Deal with book proposal. Get ready for whatever conference. Throw shit out. Treadmill. Vacuum.

Slowed down this week, moving underwater. Vicarious trauma is insidious and when you realize you have it, it feels shameful. Nothing really happened to me. My daughter in Boston is fine. What right do I have to take up space with my imaginary flashbacks and histrionic PTSD? All the while preparing to do a training at work for staff on Compassion Fatigue, of which Vicarious Trauma is a cornerstone. I’ll try to schedule it for Nurse’s Week. Compartmentalization of affect works up to a point, I will tell them. Acknowledging how hard the job you do is, how other’s trauma leaks into your unconscious. Into the collective unconscious. Damn, maybe we are just all walking around sodden with each other’s pain.

Write something new. An excerpt follows.

Don’t Touch the Mustard, Notes on Being in Lockdown with my Daughter

I have deleted the content as I am working it up as an essay for publication, thank you.

End note: I believe, if I interpret myself accurately, my point is that for me, creativity saves me. My ability to laugh, to write, I write an essay and the symptoms start to abate. It’s OK if we don’t get through our To Do lists. Our world feels crazy when we know so much and we should be evolving. We are all just walking underwater. Most of us are doing our best.

4 thoughts on “Notes on lockdowns, our soggy collective unconscious, and the endlessness of the To Do lists

  1. For the record, like anything else, Twitter is as reliable as the sources you consult.

  2. You have an interesting way to address your fears and tell stories–with underhanded humor and self-deprecation. It makes the reader easily identify with you, at the same time uneasily due to the admissions of your foibles. But it is easy to read and engrossing. Send more!

  3. Was Z really that closeby to the scene?!? I think you said she was in the general area, but I just read this and you mention 2:40, which is ten minutes prior. My god.

  4. Will do Barb, and thanks. Just getting back from a conference, back to work in the “real” world……

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