It is almost unanimous: the current detention costs more than the previous one, at least for those who may be working from home. For the rest, those who never stopped, there won’t be any major differences. From the first moment, a year ago, it was recognized that the pandemic would involve complex, oscillating, and internally conflicting emotions. Suffering with hope, fear and resistance, boredom with vulnerability, euphoria with deep exhaustion.
Above all, there is a recurring feeling of helplessness or weightlessness, which in fact has long been characteristic of the mentally urbanized scenario. The pandemic has made this even clearer. Not knowing what will happen tomorrow, physically, economically, or mentally, is the daily life of too many people. Today this has intensified on other levels, not least because we are dealing with the archetype of all fears – death. But the feeling of insecurity has been there for a long time.
For the past few decades, neoliberal rhetoric has wanted us to believe that flexibility, ideas outside the box, getting out of the comfort zone, and other argumentative trinkets are the solution to all problems. Initiative and ideas are necessary. However, this cannot serve to create a reality where precariousness and inequality are the norm, or blame those who do not have access to the minimum standards (health, education, housing, culture …) as if the changes are fair Decisions could be voluntary and internal, regardless of external constraints – in other words, only those who are in them can step out of their comfort zone.
What the second phase of restriction showed is this. There are few people who have access to this area – which is a material area of protection, but not only. It’s also a mental health space. It is what enables us to gain some awareness of what is happening, to accept some inevitable contradictions, to be a constructive critical voice in others without giving in to the role of the victim of something that escapes us because we are always there looking for criminalization, which means victimization. It is what allows us to walk through a storm, with inevitable vibrations, but with a horizon. An anchor. It is the least that one should strive for a maximal development of his subjectivity as an individual.
In recent times we have seen how the values of stability and calm have been reduced to the everyday in order to enable a discourse of people without roots, without networks of affection, who question themselves and the reality around them little, just that what they give It is offered: consumption and a whirlpool of experiences, sensations and pleasure, a kind of emotional practice that gives the illusion of being antidotes to depression, sadness or loneliness. Of course, capital doesn’t care that affective, creative, caring, cooperative and social projects sprout. But we need that now.
Mental health correlates with the virtues of having such a comfort zone that has been so bad-tempered lately. A space of social bonds, affective depth, support networks, regular exercise, new cognitive activities, the reduction of anxiety because one has money for income at the end of the month, good nutrition and time to reflect and rest. We should all be in the comfort zone today. It doesn’t remove the inevitable uncertainties that the pandemic brings, but it certainly helps to manage it healthier.