In the bush we get this, usually unique, mental health challenge that comes in the form of 'drought fatigue'.
The relentlessness of the unavoidable affects us, as much as anything and everything else.
We feel the twinge of disappointment over and over again with every empty forecast.
We are walloped with despair every time the rain 'ten days away' disappears leaving as wanting.
Eventually we become unhealthy in our habitual forecast checking and our submersion in the very thing that hurts us with far too many of our own words and thoughts.
We become irritable and unconversational as we lack the fodder to make small talk about the only polite societal topic left.
We shrug off optimists, and their positive hopefulness, as maddening when the fatigue really bites down.
We get right down deep into the concept that we have no control over our weather and for times, no control over our own lives because of that.
Eventually the rain falls and our souls are freed, little by little, as the world we inhabit comes back to life.
Right now we are watching drought-fatigue's new cousin, Covid-fatigue, gnawing relentlessly on the leg of the general populous.
For many of us, we have come gauntly through the window of drought but we ourselves are still beleaguered by our very own COVID-fatigue.
And we are surrounded by a mixed bag of the joy-seeking optimists; desperate for the forecast of 'less virulent' to rain down on their lives, rebirthing their freedom.
But our lives are also peppered with the Covid Cultists, so deep in their commitment to never ending despair they aren't prepared to even consider that there may ever be an end, because the habit of their low has become so engrained that it has overcome their will to rise out of it.
The ones who appear to not even want to consider that the world may actually go back to normal one day and that perhaps this new virus 15.0 may be the end of the drought that has rattled their minds and disrupted their lives.
For many people in our country, they had never experienced the loss of control that we are so accustomed to.
My fear is that they won't know how to regain it, or that they won't want to, something I have seen in those who were broken by the dry.
As the reality of 'living with' the virus becomes more apparent we farmers know how it goes.... Every drought ends with a flood like no other, heartbreak on top of despair, and then slowly the cycle balances out into a normal season.
We seem to be in the midst of the flood...uncontrollable, bigger than all of us, difficult to navigate, but unavoidable and necessary.
The task for many at this point is trying to find the words to help the disparaged to snap out of the trance-like state that clouds their hopefulness and disrupts their will for freedom to resume and fear to be put back into its crate.
Hopefully our collective understanding of this emotional and psychological gateway can help bring some countering balance to the wider conversation.
The illustration of what a transcendence through the light at the end of the tunnel, the survival that manifests after the end of a hard chapter, can be like.
The idea that optimism, that never actually died, is something worth not only regaining, but fighting for, after all is said and done.
- Bess O'Connor, Goondiwindi
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