Lethargic, thanks for asking. It's today's answer to the well-worn query, "How's everything in your bubble?"
I'll tell you about the damn bubble. It's old, smells like mouldy teenager, wet dog and burnt toast. And it's tired.
Though I've played tug of war with the Sandman most of my life, I had a couple of weeks of bizarrely unbroken sleep when we first started lockdown.
I was in bed by 10:30pm at the latest and curled up with one of two paperback books I bought just before everything closed. Print is soothing. The e-reader, while convenient, provides more light and more screen time than I need.
I finished both books and sleep has skidded downhill since.
Bit by bit, I started staying up later, watching Netflix with my 16-year-old daughter while Master 14 games what's left of his brains out on the computer in the garage.
"You stole my kill! You stole my kill!" emanates from the boy-cave. I reprimand name-calling. My repeated refrain changes my teen's speech patterns - not one bit.
Many things chafe these days, like I'm wearing a dog-hair suit. My bubble mates and I, normally a happy trio, identify more and more things we do that annoy the crap out of each other. Chewing too loudly. Eating all the cereal. Drinking all the milk. Leaving empty bowls in a bedroom, a come-hither card for cockroaches. Failing to shower. Replacing regular bathing for extra-long sessions consisting possibly of a 27-step beauty regimen, or an addiction to hot running water and high utility bills.
The last steps of the marathon are the hardest.
When our prime minister announced we'd sit at level 3 for yonks after we'd already spent moons in level 4, I said, "No worries. There's takeaways."
Still, I felt like I had entered the finishing chute of the marathon, only for the race official to point straight ahead and say, "We've added another ten kilometres to the route." I'll do it, but it's going to be painful and some of it will really suck. The psychological blisters are getting huge and ugly.
Even if the flesh is able, the mind is tired. Really tired.
I'm operating on too little sleep and too many carbohydrates, popping antacids like they're Mentos. It's my pandemic regime.
April was the lost month. The month where no one invited friends and neighbours to dinner; no one sipped a flat white at a cafe, savoured a sav at a restaurant or heard live music among the company of dozens (if not hundreds) of strangers.
No one trained alongside their team to win the games that didn't get played. No one raised her hand in the classroom so the teacher could walk over and help her understand how to solve an equation. No one held their pet tightly, speaking soothing words as the veterinarian dispensed a shot.
Some people said their last goodbyes to loved ones via iPad, and no one held a memorial service where friends and family from near and far put their arms around each other in a gesture of comfort and solidarity. No one sent flowers.
The hope is by next year, we'll look back and remember mostly the positives of lockdown, like nightly walks together and regular romps on the beach. The time in level 4 when traffic was nearly non-existent and families cycling and walking together on a sunny autumn day stretched as far as you could see. We'll remember feasting on feijoas, baking bagels, cinnamon rolls, frying churros and arrancini balls, and buying treats at the supermarket as if they were a prize for our heroism, a reward for saving lives from our sofas.
We know many people have it much, much harder than us. Some are living the bubble of a toxic relationship, many have lost jobs, some are depressed and others are even contemplating self-harm. This is when our good Samaritan skills kick in, piercing the fog of melancholy, spurring action. We call the friend who's struggling so we can listen to his story and tell him it's okay not to be okay. We connect our friends, family, colleagues and students with someone who can listen, sometimes a professional who can help.
Social science researcher and author Brene Brown says vulnerability is the birthplace of courage. Admitting we've hit the wall, are feeling meh, whatever you want to call it, takes guts. But doing so allows other people to know it's okay not to feel okay. Wearing the armour of toughness day after day grinds us down mentally and physically. The facade adds extra weight as we spend our days trying to show the world we're not weak. We all have dark days, weeks, entire months…
There's no shame in saying we're sad and weary. Hopefully, the end of physical distancing will soon be within our grasp as friends and family hold us not only in their thoughts but also within their arms.
Be gentle with yourself. If ever there has been a time to say, "I'm not okay," it's now.
Oh, and happy Mother's Day. You all deserve a medal.
Where to get help • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7) • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7) • Youth services: (06) 3555 906 • Youthline: 0800 376 633 • Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7) • Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm) • Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7) • Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 • CASPER Suicide Prevention If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.