Featured Entries

Each week during PJP’s first phase, we posted a few journal entries that participants gave us permission to share anonymously.
  • Scroll down to read more — or use the Keyword search box to look for entries on a particular theme or topic. You can set your search to include text, audio, and/or images.
  • To learn more about the Pandemic Journaling Project, visit our Main Site.
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I am seeing a therapist and new medical oncology team. It is a challenge to start new, I don’t like being unable to shake hands or give/receive a hug, keep separation, etc.but for the circumstances it continues to be necessary.

I was at Mass this week, and an older/mentally-challenged woman reached out her hand for the peace greeting. It’s been the new “tradition” during COVID noto to shake a bunch of hands. And being a high-risk immune-compromised person I always wear a mask, avoid shaking hands or hugging/close contact. This woman became outwardly offended that I wouldn’t shake her hand, and stomped off, saying something like, “I won’t accept that as your peace!” I felt so bad for unintentionally offending her. I stopped her after Mass to explain my personal situation and apologize. I think she understood, and was forgiving. I hope we can bump elbows if I see her again.

We hear a lot about the economic impact of the pandemic. Has this been on your mind? If so, share some of your thoughts.

yeah it has been on my mind. the gas prices are going up/ it's over $4 a gallon, food prices are going up and I am on very limited income. a check once a month, and once all bills are paid i am lucky to have $100 left for the rest of the month. for june i will only have $79 to last me a month.

Has the pandemic changed your views on human rights issues in any way? If so, tell us about it.

I think that the pandemic has expanded my understanding of what I consider to be human rights issues. Prior to the pandemic, I considered the right to work as a human rights issue. Now, I also consider the right to not work, especially during states of emergency, as a human rights issue. So many essential workers had to keep working not just because of the nature of their work, but because they receive such little pay that they couldn't afford any cuts to their paycheck.

< I also consider the right to work remotely a human right as well. People with disabilities have requested such accommodations for a while, but were told that it wasn't possible or appropriate. This pandemic has shown that we do a lot of unnecessary travel for work and that the work space isn't necessary. Of course, that doesn't dismiss those who may not have the space to work from home, the increasingly blurred line between home and work, and the fact that some people work better outside of the home. People should have the right to choose how they work if they have a job that doesn't rely on place.

Is there any art you've found particularly meaningful during the pandemic (paintings, music, movies, writing, etc.)?

I’ve discovered 5D Diamond painting kits during the pandemic. They are relaxing, and very meditative. I do them when I watch TV and can justify that as being productive, and creative, and it’s sort of zen like instead of just succumbing to couch potato. I’ve also been in a book discussion group and we discuss various topics such as “what’s the difference in arts and crafts?”, “What defines an artist?” ,”What’s it take to be an artist?”And if you could have a “Creative super power what would it be?” I would love to be able to paint…there’s several artist in the group that have been very supportive and encouraging…and therefore get a little frustrated when I admit to doing one of these kits. They don’t understand that once I’ve picked and purchased a kit the decisions are done. There is no deciding on subject matter, size of canvas, type of paint, colors, or composition as those decisions have all been made. (And, therefore I don’t have to worry about making a wrong one). It’s basically paint by number with plastic beads transferred from a stylist to a sticky canvas. The repetitive motion is very soothing and it feels good to watch the canvas fill up. I also give them as gifts so am thinking of the person as I do them. They have been great distractions from the daily grind of dealing with CoVid.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

ANGRY!!! Again covid is in my family and disrupting plans. My daughter in law tested positive for covid. Now our vegetable garden planting will have to wait, no dinner together on Sunday. Don't know where to direct my anger, but I think it is anger at those who have spread the lies and refused to believe science. There is no way this affluent nation should have 1 million people die from covid.

If you feel your mental health has changed since the pandemic started, talk about what's changed.

A profound sense of loneliness like I have never experienced. My mom died in 2020 after a stroke in 2019. While I am going out more and see friends, I just still feel disconnected. A lot of my friends have adult children. I do not. A friend is going to stay with me for a while. That will help, as long as we get along...lolol.

Who have been the most important people in your life during the pandemic? Talk about why they've been important to you.

- the pandemic has taught me the value of my family... big shout out to them

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.


CT has one of the highest rates of transmission in the country right now, but people are still just acting like I'm the weird one for wearing a mask. Whatever. Everyone I know is getting sick and I don't wanna.

My mom is still recovering, and says she's slowly getting her sense of smell back. It's been weeks. Happy birthday, Mom.

Anyway, I'm convinced that my parents' efforts to avoid getting sick until they could be vaccinated and fully boosted saved my mother's life. For that I am grateful.

And I'm also grateful to have had a place here to put my thoughts and feelings. Thank you all for making this happen. This has been a useful place to organize my thoughts and view myself through a (sometimes rather unflattering) mirror at times. I hope this resource is useful for future generations and I am glad to have contributed to it.

What long term changes do you expect we'll see as a result of the pandemic?

I don't think we'll see any long-term changes. For one, we're too focused on getting back to "normal". We're already acting like the pandemic is over. The pandemic exacerbated so many existing crises, like housing, student loan debt, public health, food insecurity, employment, living wages, UBI, etc. What has changed? Nothing. There may be changes on the micro level, but any systemic change specifically because of the pandemic seems unlikely.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The pandemic has only given a larger platform to the right wing nuts and I can’t fathom Roe v. Wade being obliterated from our country. I’m disgusted with our country.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

So we are in the fifth wave here in South Africa. But we are no longer being nearly so careful.

I still wear a mask in public indoor spaces, but we went to a dinner party the other day where we spent some time indoors, unmasked, with about 5 other people.

I have been helping my father with a lot of things and going into his house unmasked.

I don't know if this is the right thing to do.

It feels like a waste of time to be careful, as if the cost is not worth the effort. But honestly, I don't think my behaviour is because of a rational reason. It's more because of a kind of peer pressure, because most people around me are behaving like this.

What will be the key sign(s) for you that the pandemic is over?

It's really hard to imagine a post-pandemic world. I think the key sign for me will be when I don't have to have the mental conversation with myself before I meet someone, wondering 'to hug or not to hug', especially if I haven't seen them in a while.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I went wedding dress shopping this weekend! It was fun but it was also weird because none of my friends or family could be there. My fiancée and her family were there to support me, and they were lovely, but I feel like the experience highlighted the way the pandemic influenced the start of our relationship, with me not being able to see my friends or family or home at all for almost two years. Definitely caused some rocky times, but I am glad that I am forming a supportive community here.

On another, positive note, I started my new job this week! I left my old one partly due to their bizarre COVID policies and flexibility, and my new position is absolutely wonderful so far. It's almost 100% remote, I definitely, and more than doubled my pay, and the culture is a thousand times better! The Great Resignation worked out great for me!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

After so many months of this pandemic, could we really be seeing a glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel? New case rates are dropping rapidly in my country and in my state, and all but one of the counties in my area have announced that next week they will be dropping their indoor mask mandates for most situations. Leaving them in place for health care workers and schools, but it does suggest that maybe, just maybe, we are approaching a return to some version of normal. I’m hopeful, but skeptical, hesitant. It will be a long time, I suspect, before I’m comfortable being unmasked in any kind of indoor public setting.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I picked these flowers from our yard to make bouquets for myself, two friends and my Mom for Mother’s Day. I keep a shelf next to our fireplace as a memorial to her, my Dad and my partner’s dad, all of whom have passed. This was my first Mother’s Day without Mom because of COVID19 so I missed her. But it was fun to make the bouquets look pretty & professional.

Have you been part of any social gatherings lately? If so, what was that like? What impact did the pandemic have, if any?

We've been visiting friends indoors which is a new experience. Not many people at a time and we keep the doors open. No masks.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. Am I being irresponsible? It's confusing.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

yes, everyone in my circle has gotten the new strain of the virus. I have a co-worker who got sick, two of my four daughters got covid, my son-in-law got covid.

nothing really changed for me.

I took the vaccine in early April, 4th dose, so I think it must have worked because lots of people around me got sick and I didn't.

My youngest daughter, 23, who lives with us full time did not get covid, but she had a bad cold and missed work for a few days.

Generally, I am feeling restless. My mental health is not that great right now. Still have a very wondering mind, can't seem to focus but hopefully everything will turn out ok.

Wrote a poem for a radio station about "Normalcy" Everyone is focusing on returning to normal but I feel that normal will never really be here.

We don't know what normal is anyway.

Nothing is normal anymore.

Some people are feeling intense feelings right now as a result of the pandemic. Is anything making you especially sad right now, or especially angry? If so, what's on your mind?

I'm not personally experiencing any intense feelings at the moment. However, a close friend is having a very hard time. He suffers from anxiety and OCD. The pandemic has made things exponentially worse for him. In the last month or so, he's been having more frequent and longer lasting attacks, and needing more time to recover. He's really struggling with trying to re-integrate into day-to-day life outside his home. Even the thought of going out can set him off.

Based on what I'm hearing from him and from others, folks with mental health issues are going to need extra support on an ongoing basis.

It makes me sad. I feel helpless. I wish there was something I could do.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Actually, for this week, nothing special happened. Doing nucleic acid test is now my daily routine. The pandemic in GuangZhou is geting better. Also, I got a language partner this week and we practiced oral English every Saturday evening, which is great. So far so good I guess.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

Mother's Day TODAY!Bought a cake for my dear mom today~Wish moms in the world a Happy Mother's Day!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I was given an ultimatum as a cast member in a school musical-- either remain covid-free by tech week or cancel the show. We are unofficially in a musical cast bubble/lockdown to avoid this worst-case scenario.

Talk about how the events of recent months have affected your financial situation.

My mom and I take care of the bills of the house. And the rent has risen a lot. I know that has taken a toll on my financial problems. My insurance is really expensive. I did have a savings but I’m trying to rebuild that right now. Other then that though I’m pushing forward.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

My son and husband both tested positive for COVID last week. We were so shocked, and scared, and angry, especially because we've been incredibly diligent for so long. But COVID found us anyway. We are very, very grateful that their symptoms are mild to moderate. It could be so much worse.

Months ago I'd assembled a "Kovid Kit" in a giant baggie, with a thermometer, pulse oximeter, Tylenol, Kleenex, masks, and phone charger. I was glad to be able to just throw the bag across the room. But it never occurred to me that I'd need more than one kit.

I had two years to imagine what this would be like. But I never did. I think I'd assumed that with masks, vaccines, and lockdowns we'd be safe. But here we are, and I'm surprised at how unprepared I am, despite my "kit."

Like, I didn't know that my insurance will pay for 8 home tests, per month, per person. Now I know, but I can't find them anywhere. I was also completely in the dark about anti-virals. We don't have a primary care doctor, and none of the test-and-treat pharmacies here offer tele-health. And it seemed hard to believe that they'd want people infected with COVID to show up in person. It took me two days and $50 to find a "Doctor on Demand" tele-health that would prescribe.

Family visits and social activities have been cancelled, and now we're in a holding pattern. This is a photo of one our "feed bags" - bottled water, apple slices, and cereal bars. We just hang the bag on the bedroom doorknob to send food in and out.

Would you describe yourself as someone who’s flourishing at this point in your life? Why or why not? If this has changed during the pandemic, talk about what’s changed.

No, I'm not flourishing. I don't personally know anyone who's flourishing. At most, we're managing to keep from being overwhelmed by current events.

Talk about the last time something made you cry.

The last time I cried was on April 30, the anniversary of my brother’s death. He was a musician, talented, smart, funny, gone way too soon, way too young. I turned on my music and listened to his band’s recording of Directly From My Heart To You,” his voice and harmonica playing reaching out across the years to wrap themselves around my heart and bring tears to my eyes. He died 17 years ago, and yes, I miss him and treasure the memories of our times together. I think of those who have lost friends and family to this pandemic. With nearly a million people in this country dead from Covid, every day there are more than 2,500 painful anniversaries for those who lost someone to the virus. And there are many others who will mark the day their loved one died, not of Covid, but alone because of pandemic precautions.