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Emails to my Therapist


Dear Nicholas, This past Tuesday, I not only thought it was Wednesday, I bullishly insisted it was. This morning I poured adhesive remover on my head thinking it was dry shampoo. And I recently tried to brush my teeth with hand lotion. I thought I had invented the word “pandementing” but then did a search and found pandementia defined on the hip Urban Dictionary website. The meaning is of course obvious.


And it’s one reason I’m writing these Emails to My Therapist twice in one week. I need to. I’m probably not the only one in a fretful forgetful state, either.

Another recent sign of pandementia: I keep catching myself reading the word I expect to see, not the one that’s on the page. I find myself puzzled and have to check back to see what I got wrong.

A Wild Exaggeration

These are small things, I know. I don’t mean to make light of real dementia. I’ve seen that up close and it’s not like the mild fraying of the nerve endings caused by a year of house arrest.

Still, this fraying–this failure of mine to pay attention– is significant and inconvenient, adds to a feeling of being in a muddle.


Starting again on things I thought I’d finished.

Re-questioning things I thought I’d already decided.

Hesitant when I should be proceeding.

Pretty sure the muddling isn’t going to end.

Late Gate Fever

No doubt this is a later stage of the “gate fever” I wrote about a a couple of days ago.

What’s the next stage? Thinking today is last week? Madly ramming the carts of encroaching grocery shoppers?

I remind myself (over and over) that I’ve had such a lucky deal in this pandemic. None of the half million dead in the country are loved ones of mine. I’ve been able to work at home. I’m old enough to have already gotten my shots. And things are getting better. All true, and yet I’m in a mental thicket.

Of course the pandemic is not my only problem in life, no doubt true for everyone. But it sure does have the power to complicate and add weight to other difficulties.

Writing these emails helps me quite a lot, though I hesitate to send this one. It makes the third complaining rant in a row. I don’t want to be a whiner.

Hitting Send anyway. Here goes…



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  • Andy Arnold
    February 26, 2021 at 8:13 pm Reply

    Hang in there Peggy. All of these symptoms seem normal and quite frankly, deserve complaints.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 26, 2021 at 8:33 pm Reply

      I”m hanging, Andy. How’s it with you? Do you get out on the water?

  • Morris Dean
    February 26, 2021 at 9:13 pm Reply

    Peggy, I agree with Andy, if by “these symptoms seem normal” he means they’re not really related to “a year of house arrest.” But maybe you’re right. Anyway, I experience the same symptoms, and the year hasn’t seemed all that different to me. Since retirement, I’ve always spent most of my time at home. I don’t care for bars or clubs or “going out.” That is, I credit aging as the source of the symptoms in my case. Maybe that’s really what’s going on with you too?

    • Peggy Payne
      February 26, 2021 at 10:07 pm Reply

      That’s certainly possible, Morris, but I doubt it. They’re too precisely correlated with the fed-up-with-the-plague mood that struck suddenly about two weeks ago.

      • Morris Dean
        February 27, 2021 at 1:36 am Reply

        I wasn’t aware of the correlation evidence concerning when the mood struck you. I guess I missed that posting, But correlation doesn’t by itself constitute causation. Where can I learn more about your mood’s onset?

        • Peggy Payne
          February 27, 2021 at 2:13 am Reply

          Haven’t written about that, Morris.

      • Morris Dean
        February 27, 2021 at 1:43 pm Reply

        Peggy, I had read this post without having read its prequel, about gate fever. Now, having read the prequel, I much better understand your situation, and I feel for you. And my thankfulness is enlarged that I have never myself felt pandemic sequestering to be like imprisonment. The virtual world of blogging, reading, communicating via email and text and comment (like this!) with many friends and cousins and nieces and nephews, has remained a bedrock.

        • Peggy Payne
          February 27, 2021 at 5:27 pm Reply

          It has been a bedrock for me until recent days, Morris. Overall we’ve both gotten off easily in this virus year.

  • George Wingate
    February 26, 2021 at 9:43 pm Reply

    A word is worth a thousand pictures. Ok ok… maybe a declarative sentence, a truthful one, thank you.

    You are getting to my mind, Peggy. Keep it up.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 26, 2021 at 10:03 pm Reply

      I’ve always admired your mind, George. Thanks!

    • February 27, 2021 at 6:06 pm Reply

      Glad to see yr commenbt G. trust all’s well there – well enough here – picking up new dog half-way to NJ on Wednesday. A 3 year old Kangal female, rescued from divorcing family. Exciting and comlicating. I’ll Email more. Love, b

  • kenju
    February 26, 2021 at 11:00 pm Reply

    You are certainly not alone; though I have not done much of anything like those…But the pandemic is getting to all of us and it is “normal” to do some things that seem out of the ordinary. I am short-tempered (a bit more than usual)….and I don’t expect that to change soon.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 27, 2021 at 12:21 am Reply

      Oh, yes, short-tempered! I’m feeling it too, kenju. And you’re probably right about that time schedule. Right now I have trouble imagining it otherwise.

  • kenju
    February 27, 2021 at 12:28 am Reply
    • Peggy Payne
      February 27, 2021 at 2:16 am Reply

      Thanks, kenju. Interesting data on pandemic period increases in anxiety and depression.

    • Morris Dean
      February 27, 2021 at 3:33 pm Reply

      Excellent advice for many people. Now, of course, I’m wondering where my own apparent immunity to pandementia (if not to aging) comes from….

  • Robert Braxton
    February 27, 2021 at 1:23 am Reply’s server IP address could not be found – sending (out) a search party

    • Peggy Payne
      February 27, 2021 at 2:15 am Reply

      Not sure I understand, Bob. You couldn’t get my page to open?

  • February 27, 2021 at 3:43 am Reply

    Pandementia a new word for me, & it’s a good word to cover all our stress induced peculiarities – everything negative’s some worse’n usual. There are some up sides for some companies, and on on the whole, nothing at all positive for me. I miss seeing people in person, particularly friends outside my very comfortable and supportive home dyad. I’ve lost no one I know of to Trump’s Virus – that good luck doesn’t leave me any less heart broken for the horrific world wide pain and losses. Got the second Covid shot, so in a couple weeks I’ll be technically safer, and my calculated risks’ll be more safe, but seems best to continue most of the safety practices – except I will explore and likely arrange a hair cut if my barber’s been practicing safe services. And I’ll continue getting twice a week Neapolitan Pizza from the Napoli food truck in Chapel Hill – it’s made the long limitations and deprivations bearable. If nothing ever changed, I’d be happy enough some way or other, as I am now.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 27, 2021 at 3:48 am Reply

      I love this comment, Bob. Makes me smile.

  • Beverly S Tetterton-Opheim
    February 27, 2021 at 2:24 pm Reply

    Instead of deodorant I put on Icy Hot! The Icy Hot is no longer anywhere near the deodorant.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 27, 2021 at 5:30 pm Reply

      I’ll bet that was startling, Beverly. Reshelving is an excellent idea. I need to keep in mind that all white plastic bottles are not the same.

  • Morris Dean
    February 27, 2021 at 7:08 pm Reply

    I agree that I too have “gotten off easily.” Haven’t suffered from mask-wearing, washing my hands, maintaining 6 feet of distance from others in stores, etc., sequestering. I don’t count cancelling trips as suffering, although my wife does (especially the two months in London, Provence in the South of France, and Montmartre in Paris). Well, I missed France, too, so I guess I DID suffer a little.
    I did a test whether your blog remembers me without my even bothering to enter my name and email address in the fields below. (I did that because – if I DO enter anything in the fields – I am required to enter the WHOLE of each, with no auto-fill assistance provided.) Well, it didn’t seem to work, so this time I will bite the bullet and enter everything. Drats! I hope that Ralph Earle can help you solve this problem. (At least, it seems to ME to be a problem.)
    Voila! I proceeded to enter “M” into the name field, and IMMEDIATELY the rest of the field AND the email-address field were auto-filled! Has Ralph already helped you? Thank you, Ralph!

    • Peggy Payne
      February 27, 2021 at 9:06 pm Reply

      I’d take missing that two-month trip pretty hard. I’m glad you were able to comment with no problem.

  • Suzanne Bice
    March 9, 2021 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Wellllll I get it. I do. I’ve become increasingly irritated that my partner, David the artist, the intellectual, the retired home builder, a resident/participant in the post-modern art movement in NY in the late 60s-70s, can’t “small talk” with me!!! Nothing new, just really irritating the past several weeks, no, months. “Why won’t you chat with me?” His reply, “I’ve never been a good small talker.” He’s got lots to draw on and just won’t. Actually, I don’t think he can and likely never has been able to but I’m just now not OK with it. Poor guy!!! I’ve driven him crazy for 13 years and I just now realize it. He’s 75 and so interesting but we are not interesting to each other right now!!!!! I also know it’ll get better now that we can more personally socialize with friends who do like to “small talk” with me and not “small talk” with him. I’ve just now found you and it’s fun and reassuring to read you. Thanks for sharing your most personal you.

    • Peggy Payne
      March 9, 2021 at 4:02 pm Reply

      Suzanne, I’m glad we found each other! You seem to have such a clear sense of what’s going on. I think it would be easy not to recognize what you describe. Well, we’re getting a bit freer now to visit with folks, so I’m betting things will be a lot better.

    • March 9, 2021 at 4:47 pm Reply

      Suzanne, in your David I recognize a person very much like me (age 78, 55th wedding anniversary coming up soon). I hope there’s hope for him in my example. I’m improving my own small-talking with MY wife. But, even better, she and I are doing better and better at deep-talking! It nets out to listening (really listening), maybe pausing a couple of seconds or three, and then replying with something filled with love and interest. Small things said by one’s spouse deserve as much love and interest as deep. [Note to Peggy: Hmm, your blog DIDN’T recognize and auto-fill for me on this occasion. Fortunately, I wanted to comment enough to persevere. Also, please tell Bob for me another “thanks” for helping me learn 30 years ago that I rub people in different ways, some of the ways much different from what I might hope.]

      • Peggy Payne
        March 9, 2021 at 5:09 pm Reply

        Thanks, Morris, I’ll pass the word to Bob.

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