Pandemic Coping

#309: This episode discusses Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a Vice article on burnout and resilience by Shayla Love, but it’s mostly Link, Lara, and Josué processing burnout and how they’ve been coping during the pandemic.


Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network here at Geek Therapy, we believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. I’m joined by Link Keller

Link Keller 0:20

Josué Cardona 0:22
and Lara Taylor.

Lara Taylor 0:23
Hey there.

Josué Cardona 0:25
Anybody here burnt out?

Link Keller 0:28
Pick me. It’s me. I’m I am.

Josué Cardona 0:31
You burnt out? I’m pretty burnt out.

Lara Taylor 0:35
I’m less burnt out than I was six months ago.

Josué Cardona 0:39
While I’m happy for you.

Lara Taylor 0:41
I’m still exhausted

Josué Cardona 0:45
I, I burnt out harder than I think I ever have. Recently, and but it’s like, it’s obviously it’s obviously the accumulation of it. Right? Like, stuff, stuff. Filled the cup. And it way too much too many things came in at once.

Lara Taylor 1:11
It was overflowing.

Josué Cardona 1:13
It was too much it spilled over

Lara Taylor 1:15
like someone shook up the soda. And it was into your cup.

Josué Cardona 1:19
Yeah, yeah. It was not. It was surprising. Almost like how, how hard I fell. How burnt out I was. Am I’m still I’m still it. I think I think it hit people in different ways at different times. But um, yeah, and I mean, that kind of just affects everything. Which is the kind of try to keep going and um, and so link you want it you chose this this this uplifting, joyful topic today. Why exactly?

Link Keller 1:58
Well so um, we we take turns picking topics on GT radio, there’s three of us we take turns is rotating. That gives you a couple of weeks to plan your next topic of choice. And, you know, sometimes we keep it loosey goosey and go for, you know, current events and sometimes returning to old favorites. But generally speaking, we’re trying to do you know, the Geek Therapy method, we’re talking about media we care about and celebrating how it helps us better understand ourselves and other people. And to be entirely honest, I have not felt celebratory in a long time. And every time it has been my turn to pick a topic, I have struggled to pick something. Because I’ll have ideas, you know, as I’m scrolling through Twitter, or watching Tik toks, or whatever, I see things all the time media that I have a strong emotional response to and I want to talk about a be something interesting to talk about it, but it is frequently upsetting. rage inducing, extremely depressing. And that is that’s not the vibe, that’s not the vibe that we’re going for here. Not, you know, not that we’re always 100% positivity, because that can be pretty toxic, too. But that’s not that’s not what I want to bring. But it has been really hard lately, I feel. not lately, this past two years, honestly, I was having, you know, a series of unfortunate events before COVID happened. So I never really got opportunity to sit down and reflect and process all of the series of shit that was happening. And then COVID And individually there, there have been, you know, moments where I’ve been okay, and I’ve felt fine. But overwhelmingly, it has been awful, and traumatizing. And I feel like I’ve not gotten the chance to I keep seeing these these jokes on on Twitter people posting memes about like, Haha, you know, we’re three months away from 2022. And I’m still processing March 2020. And it’s like, Haha, a joke, but I’m like, I feel that way sometimes. Like, when it’s like, oh, yeah, that was, you know, a year and six months ago that we went into our first lockdown. And at the time it was, you know, scary and we didn’t know what to expect and we didn’t know how long it would last and now Many things have changed but many things are still the same. We don’t know how long it’s gonna last. There’s so much uncertainty about it. It’s awful. And I’m, I am burnt out, I I’m burnt out, I’m I’m exhausted. And I tried to come up with another idea for a topic this week. But I think I was speaking with Josué and had the realization that I think that we just we need to talk about it avoiding it isn’t going to make it any easier for me. So yeah. I’m burned the fuck out

Josué Cardona 5:37
Remember two weeks ago when I had an idea, and then when we showed up, I was like, Yeah, I’m just angry. And I wanted to talk about how angry I am. And I think we better not record because I’m angry about my job. I’m angry about the world. And I don’t think I don’t think this is going to end up as something that I would, I would, uh, would be beneficial to anybody. It was. And so we didn’t even record that night. Um, one thing, one thing you just said, makes me I hadn’t thought about. I hadn’t thought about how hard it is to be optimistic right now. And, like, we just did the 10th anniversary a couple months ago. And there was like, momentum. And I’ve been thinking about, like, why it was so hard to keep celebrating and like, keep moving forward. And I think I think this, this is probably a big part of it. I think it’s, it’s a combination of things, right? I have media examples that I’ll bring up. I will start with Brooklyn, nine, nine. Y’all remember when we talked about Brooklyn nine, nine last year. And it was like, I wonder how they’re going to come back? What are they going to do? Brooklyn nine, nine came back. And it’s weird

Link Keller 7:07
that seems so fucking long ago.

Josué Cardona 7:09
It was a long time ago. My mind is back. And it is so weird. I remember saying in light of George Floyd’s murder, there’s no way like, what are they gonna do? Are they just gonna come back and just pretend like nothing happened? Are they going to come back and like all quit and be social workers.

Link Keller 7:27
I still I still wish. If I could if I could do a genie wish is Undo Brooklyn nine nine from being a show about cops to being a show about post office workers. You can have the same characters, nearly the same situations. Perfect. You can even use a lot of the same sets like it’s right there. And it’s not cops.

Josué Cardona 7:51
So So Have either of you seen the new then the new season?

Lara Taylor 7:56
I haven’t watched any brooklyn nine nine.

Josué Cardona 7:57
So so so. So the show so

Lara Taylor 8:00
so I don’t have to be disappointed.

Josué Cardona 8:02
No, but this is just an example of how weird it is. Right? Because it’s pretending it’s trying to be what it was before. But also it can’t be. And so in the first episode, Rosa quits, Rosa, Rosa is no longer a cop. And they’re definitely moving towards way more roadtrip episodes and private life stuff. They’re moving away from that and the police, it’s in the in the police officers themselves. They’re like, they’re trying to run a program to you know, reform police policing throughout the city. But they, they’re still cops, and they’re still policing. And there’s

Link Keller 8:43
and it’s still a comedy show. So like trying to grapple with those ideas and be funny??

Josué Cardona 8:49
There was one episode where they had a moment where like it, they have a speech where they’re like speaking against police brutality, and then they had to follow it up with a joke because it’s a sitcom. And it feels like this, the show cannot survive after the season, because it just feels too weird. You know, and I feel it watching that show feels like living right now. It’s like, we’re

Link Keller 9:17
i think its weird.

Josué Cardona 9:18
Especially right now everybody having to go back to work

Lara Taylor 9:20
the filter

Josué Cardona 9:21
the office, like

Lara Taylor 9:22
isoff like it’s the world but like some filter is,

Josué Cardona 9:25
it’s like, oh, you know, let’s celebrate coming back to the office. And it’s like, woah woah woah, you want to pretend like nothing happened. You literally want to go back to how things were before it. You cannot. It’s impossible. It’s impossible. Right? And like we’ve done, and it’s so many little things, right? Like last week. A few days ago, Shang-chi came out. I bought tickets. I couldn’t go I didn’t do it because like we’re still in the middle of pandemic. Like, I used to get sick all the time. I’m I don’t want to get sick. I don’t know I don’t want it Take a chance like this stuff is still happening. I was I was gonna go to Gen Con with with with a lot of friends, GT friends. I can’t I just like I just had a conversation with Woody. I was like, I can’t, I can’t do it

Josué Cardona 9:49
But I was surprised you got the tickets in the first place.

Josué Cardona 10:18
I’m too but I didn’t. Because you try to be hopeful, right? You’re

Lara Taylor 10:23
right. in California at least there was like a two week window of hope. Maybe like it was great. Everything was wonderful. And then, and then it all hit the fan, no masks and delta at the same time, just like, pew, and then blew away all the plans. Everyone had moved summer plans to fall that we might not we should have just done it in summer. Yeah,

Josué Cardona 10:47
like Link. You were saying like, Oh, yeah, no, like March 2022. And like, Whoa, what happened? March 2020. I haven’t finished processing that. It feels like that. Right? It’s like, oh, okay, no, checkups by September by September will be good. You know, it’s like, no, September is here. And yeah, no, I don’t I’m not gonna do it.

Link Keller 11:06

Josué Cardona 11:08
It’s September, by the way.

Lara Taylor 11:09

Josué Cardona 11:11
Yeah. Yeah.

Lara Taylor 11:12
This is this is quarantine birthday number two. For me.

Josué Cardona 11:18
Yeah. Yeah. But it’s that weirdness, right. It’s like, oh, no, like things are not. Things aren’t back to normal. And we haven’t talked about it. And we haven’t, like, had another family member die of COVID Two weeks ago, like this stuff is still happening. You know, and we hospitalizations are up, people are getting sick. Plus all the other stuff. There’s ugh it is. Yeah, yeah, but but Brooklyn man has been the one show so far, where it just feels. It’s off. Like I really I really liked the way that this is us went with it. Like they did something very, very. It was impressive to me, where they basically just rewrote right, the beginning of the next season to be like, Oh, okay, like, let’s let’s just add the, the pandemic on top of all of the drama,

Lara Taylor 12:15
pretty much the same plot, but then

Josué Cardona 12:18
they’re just like, let’s acknowledge it. Let’s have it be on top of everything else. Right. So we also have the pandemic that

Link Keller 12:22
which that is like, so much media reflecting reality, right? Because that is what we’re dealing with is like, we still have all of the normal life problems.

Lara Taylor 12:35
Mm hmm.

Link Keller 12:36

Lara Taylor 12:36
on top of it,

Link Keller 12:37
plus this fancy, fun pandemic to add a little pizzazz. ahh

Josué Cardona 12:43
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and it’s, I appreciated that, because it was like, oh, yeah, no, like, this is that feels real. That feels like, they acknowledged it, and they just again, added on top of it, and that it felt great. And I was surprised to see like the show come back. And they kind of just did like slight retconning, where they were like, the last scene that you saw was right at the beginning of 2020. And, and and so they hadn’t talked about COVID. But it was on the news. You know, it was just

Lara Taylor 13:16
like, it really wasn’t in real life. Yeah. Yeah. Like some of

Josué Cardona 13:19
us were like, what covid What is this? What’s this thing? Yeah, it’s not gonna it’s not gonna affect us here. And and then, yeah, it’s, it’s um,

Lara Taylor 13:29
it is interesting to see the wait like media addresses like, I am a huge medical, drama procedural person. I watched Grey’s Anatomy I want Chicago Med, Chicago Med. They’re projecting where they thought this this last season that they did all during the pandemic, they were projecting where they thought we would be wearing masks when they were out in the public, with with people occasionally, going into the hospital and like you get tested, and then you don’t have to wear a mask inside all of that. Grey’s Anatomy went all in. They had an episode that now it has impact, but less impact now that we know that people are still getting COVID with the vaccine, but they finally they had an episode where they had finally I think it was they were the season finale. They were going through different months of the year. And they went through the part where they were giving medical workers the vaccine, and they were crying, and I was crying. And it was a wonderful episode. And some of the ways that we’re able to keep I think you don’t want to pay your actors and then cover their faces all the time. So they worked around that by giving them like hazmat suits that you could, like, see their faces through. But they covered it all. People screaming about the COVID isn’t real, they covered anti vaxxers. They covered all kinds of stuff, and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out with both of those shows in the next season. that’s coming up pretty soon.

Josué Cardona 15:03
I think how many of these shows are gonna show what we’re talking about where it’s like the long term effects, you know,

Lara Taylor 15:12
one of the characters in Grey’s Anatomy, especially being a healthcare worker, but it I think was also could be applied in general. She was just like, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore. And she just like froze during medical procedures and just like, one It stayed in bed for a couple of weeks, because it had been

Link Keller 15:32
too much.

Josué Cardona 15:34
Yeah. Yeah. I am, I am furious about the the return to office stuff. I know a lot of people are for a number of reasons. For a number of reasons, but um, but I think I think in general, it’s just that right, like the, the pretending, or the, or the, the even just the wanting to write it’s like, I think we, we haven’t talked about this in a while. Right. We haven’t had like a, like a retrospective to look back. Link, You’re you’re listening to some of the older episodes, right? And you’re hearing the old us thinking about what the future might be, and like how we were handling it, then. Any, any thoughts on that?

Link Keller 16:27
I mean, I can’t speak to, you know, your guyses internal experience, but I can, I can hear the hope leak out of my body over time. Just, it’s, you know, that that high pitch sound of when you have a balloon and you stretch the mouth open so it comes out real. [whistles] Yeah, that that’s, that’s all the optimism. Having left my life. That’s not true. I’m just I still have hope. I’m not completely hopeless. Which maybe in of itself is a good sign from where I was two years ago. unmedicated i doing better now, but I am exhausted. It has been so long. And it just it feels like they we haven’t caught a break. in so long. Yeah, listening to those those earlier in the pandemic episodes and, and us, you know, foolishly hoping like, oh, yeah, this is just gonna be a couple weeks, couple months, maybe. Maybe the end of the year? I don’t know. I don’t. I don’t know that we ever straight up like made calls like that. But you could definitely tell like, there was a point where we were like, this isn’t a forever thing. And at some point, none of us believed that anymore.

Josué Cardona 18:11
Oh, yeah. Yeah. There’s that that that trend on tik tok, when HR comes to the employees like, hey, guess what, we’re coming back to the office. And and the employees like finally, like, Oh, you’re excited about it? It’s like, No, I quit.

Link Keller 18:34
There’s a comic artist I follow on Twitter who did Like a Zoom meeting? And yeah, the main character is like, hey, everybody’s so excited. Next week, we’re going to start coming into the office part time and it’s like, oh, wait Fanlee, Why are you why are you taking control of this? The screen share? I didn’t, you’re not on the schedules. And it’s just typing in like in a notepad big I quit and then leaving the house. I related to that so deeply, even though I’m not working in an office job have not for a very long time at this point. But that feeling of I guess, particularly managers being just like, we did it, guys. We made it through the hard stuff. And now it’s back to normal. And it’s like, I’m back. Back to normal does it doesn’t exist anymore. I mean, not I don’t know that. conceptually. It’s ever existed, but like, individually, and culturally, we really need to grapple with this because we can’t go back.

Josué Cardona 19:41
I was I was in a meeting earlier today where it was. They said, Oh, for. I’m mentioned that, you know, our team shouldn’t come back to the should have more flexibility to work from home. And they were told, Oh, yes. write up a proposal. And so this person says, okay, yeah, so

Link Keller 20:05
I propose I don’t come back into the office,

Josué Cardona 20:09
it said I’m going to propose, you know, at least two days from home. And you know, that we’ve demonstrated that we are now that we worked well, from home, I was like, we work better from home like, don’t like that’s, that’s the part that bugs me. It’s like the, they don’t want to to acknowledge the fact that things were just fine for a lot of people. Right, sure, some industries can’t, but some can. It’s also, it’s also, like, not only are things still bad, but the things that for some people were good. You can’t you can’t you also can’t keep them. We need to, we’re taking those back. One of the one of the few things that gave people relief, again this isn’t across the board. This doesn’t apply to everybody. But in the cases that it did, why are you taking it away? And why do you not want to acknowledge that you’re taking it away, and it’s bothering people.

Lara Taylor 21:00
That’s why I appreciate what my company has been doing. We have dedicated to doing telehealth, forever. Like, we have actual clinics, I work in a clinic, I have not been in person in a year and a half, we were supposed to go back, you know, last week. But that wasn’t going to happen. And now they’ve now they’ve said, we’re not going back until there’s a bunch of criteria and they’re doing a county by county. And if I wanted to, I could go back in and be in the office by myself. Which I plan to if a heat wave hits, but any person who does not want to go back into the office can be shifted to a virtual clinic and work remotely indefinitely. And those of us in the clinics in the physical clinics are going to have some flexibility to work half days or a certain number of days at home.

Josué Cardona 22:01
But it’s it bothered like I was doing telehealth 10 years ago, Ariel who does our Disney podcasts, she has a practice completely virtual, there’s never that woman will never walk into a clinic again

Lara Taylor 22:12
I still want to go back and I still want to go back into the clinic

Josué Cardona 22:15
but that’s cool that you have an option, right? The thing is, like all the oh there’s criteria and then there’s this and then there’s that it’s like there’s room for both.

Lara Taylor 22:24
Exactly. And that’s what my company’s doing right? You if you don’t want to you can be a remote therapist and work from home remotely.

Josué Cardona 22:34
But it took a pandemic to do this kind of stuff right? Like Like I’m not trying to take away from like sure there are companies that are doing it worse. But but it’s just it’s another one of those things where it’s like things have to get really bad for some things some conversations to happen and some people are benefiting and some people are not it’s it’s frustrating now to like yeah, like you see there’s the great resignation and there’s companies who are going all remote and companies who were struggling because they don’t want to do that and just still unemployment and just things sucking and I don’t know it’s hard to so many people like I don’t like again the world still sucks like things aren’t necessarily better and and things are still pretty bad and they’re long term effects of this and and what what else? I don’t know. I don’t know how to I don’t know what the what examples there are of who’s processing this who’s trying to who’s doing it. Who’s going through this? Who’s handling it well? where is the model to follow?

Link Keller 23:54
you point them out to me

Josué Cardona 23:55
please. I would like to talk to them like was it what what did the vice article say? Okay,

Link Keller 24:05
yes, let’s talk about that. Okay, so posted today on Vice an article by Shayla?

Josué Cardona 24:17
Shayla love

Link Keller 24:17
Shayla Love. Sorry I was scrolling. Shayla love. It is titled “we’re all burned out and exhausted. It doesn’t mean we’re not resilient”. subheader is resilience isn’t a trait you have it’s something you do and feeling negative emotions or relying on others can be part of it. A lot of this article is talking about what we’re talking about where is just we have haven’t had an opportunity to cope with all of the stuff that has happened and it just it keeps happening and it’s like the second half like you start to get a handle on something, it’s another 10 things show up. And, you know, coming from media psychology background, positive psychology is a big aspect of that. Resilience is one of the major foundational ideas of positive psychology. However, resilience is very much aimed towards the concept of recovering after a traumatic event is very much framed around PTSD. Most originally, it has come to mean broader things but resilience doesn’t apply here because we’re not we’re not past it. And and we’re still in it. And so it is the behaviors and actions and steps that we would take normally, after a traumatic events, you take these steps, reaching out to your community, getting help from doctors, you know, personal things, journaling, self care, that that kind of stuff, those are all useful skill sets.

Josué Cardona 26:16
Once the event is over

Link Keller 26:18
that support resiliency, but again, it has it after the event, if you are still in the event, that’s not resiliency that’s coping, that’s just how are you coping?

Lara Taylor 26:29
That’s survival?

Link Keller 26:30
And the answer is not well. Yeah,

Josué Cardona 26:34
yeah. You know, there it goes, like pushing through.

Link Keller 26:37
Yeah. And that that has been, you know, capitalism, America, work ethic, say what you will, there’s very much been a cultural push of like, just just keep going, we’re all gonna get through this, just keep going. And all I can think about is, all those dead people, all those families who didn’t get to have a funeral, because of COVID, all of those, you know, several of them in my close, friend, group, family group, haven’t been able to, you know, grieve losses due to COVID due to other unrelated things. And, and it’s just how do we cope with that? How? One of my very close dear friends her father passed away. Right, right before, you know, in February 2020, right before we went into lockdown, and they didn’t, they didn’t get an opportunity to do a family Memorial even though they wanted to. And they started planning one together. And then there were just a bunch of COVID outbreaks. And so they canceled all the plans. And they’ve had, you know, an a year anniversary and two father’s days since then, and and she’s like, I don’t I still don’t know how to how to deal with this. And you know, obviously, you don’t get a lot of practice losing a parent. But is it how can you tell is like, is this just like, normal grief? Or is this something is, you know, something wrong? Is this something bad? And I can’t help but feel that because society has been pushing this, like, just keep going, like, just keep pushing through it. Like all of these things. All of these traumas, we’re not getting to process and through there’s there’s going to be a big paycheck at some point

Josué Cardona 28:49
I do like to bring up the article. Like people aren’t. Like, right, the point is to see resilience as a as an act and as a process, right, not. Some people are more resilient.

Link Keller 29:02
It’s a state of who you are

Lara Taylor 29:04
not a trait.

Link Keller 29:04

Josué Cardona 29:05
Yeah. Psychology. Yeah, positive psychology also a big concept in their thriving idea. a way I always like the Seligman described it once in a, in a talk, it’s like, the regular, like, treatment is always taking you from you know, like negative 10 to zero. Once you’re at zero. You’re you’re discharged and you’re good to go. But positive psychology looks at the possibility of going from zero to plus 10. Thank you. Hey, we’re thriving. We’re doing better. There’s also I did you send me this tic tock. Um, link? It said,

Link Keller 29:49

Josué Cardona 29:50
It was probably it was probably you, I think it was someone said like, trauma

Link Keller 29:54
tik tok is my coping.

Josué Cardona 29:57
Trauma isn’t the only like trauma isn’t just what you lost. It’s also what you didn’t get, like what you never got a chance to, to have, it was something like that. Right? And it’s, it’s that it’s like, there were so many opportunities and so many things that we didn’t get to do, right. Like even that idea of like being able to thrive. How many more people didn’t get a chance to do that where thriving, could mean like more social interaction and more just fun stuff and feeling safe and feeling comfortable and not having, like, all those things add up. There are, there are things that you can very specifically look at as, as losses, that’s something that you you no longer have, but there’s also a lot of stuff that we didn’t get to do, that we could have done, or we expected to do or would have liked to do otherwise.

Lara Taylor 30:48
the loss of the future we could have had, yeah,

Josué Cardona 30:52

Link Keller 30:53
yeah, grieving, you know, the expectations we had, whether they were conscious or not. Recognizing that a lot of ideas about, you know, our life and where our life is going. We’ve just had to deal with like, that’s not gonna happen anymore. gotta come up with some new ideas, I guess.

Josué Cardona 31:20
Do either of you feel because there’s obviously life is suffering. Right? It just, it just is. But this is like a collective right? We’ve talked about this being in the past how it is like a collective trauma. And I think, I think, like, like, when you were talking about your company, Lara like, they I get I get upset, and I’m not upset at you. Right. It’s like, I’m upset at the fact that like, we’re all going through stuff, but what bugs me is the pretending of it. Right. I think I think it’s, I think it’s partially kind of what you were saying at the beginning. Like, right, it’s like, it’s hard to be celebratory, right, when that’s what we’re here for. We’re trying to do that. But like, none of us are celebrating. Or like, we all know that. That’s not the that’s not the mood. And but we’re all pretending like we’re trying to move forward. Like, it feels so I don’t know, if it’s like inauthentic, it’s like, we’re all lying to each other. Like we’re all pretending. And a part of that really, really bothers me. I don’t know exactly why. But it bugs me so much

Lara Taylor 32:27
I know some people who are not pretending they are celebrating, they are out there traveling the country traveling the world. Having parties living it up. And they might be they’re not pretending. But they’re fooling themselves. Like I think that’s,

Josué Cardona 32:51
I mean, I mean, also, some people are way better off, you know, then than other people.

Lara Taylor 32:59

Josué Cardona 33:00
Even even even within the three between the three of us. Like, there are levels, I think I think all of this has affected us in in very different ways. Like we each have a list of the ways this has affected us and they’re all very different. I’ve, yeah,

Link Keller 33:16
yeah. I mean, you know, there’s, there’s something to be said about focusing on, you know, the positive things and being grateful for whatever breaks you can get, and whatever positive choices people are making, you know, as is the case of, you know, Lara’s work allowing people to make their own choices for what suits their needs, which honestly should be the baseline. But it makes sense to be very grateful for that, because we hear regularly frequently, so many places where that does not happen where you you don’t get those choices. And typically, traditionally, coming from again, positive psychology, focusing on gratitude is so important, so good for your mental health. Such a positive way to reengage with you know, yourself and people who are close to you and really, you know, focus on the things that matter most to you. But those that that takes energy that takes work. And that is something they you know, the burnt out feeling is also like, logically in my head knowing things are going great. And then in my heart and in my guts, it just being like, I can’t, I can’t even be thankful for this thing that I know is positive. Because I just I’m so tired.

Lara Taylor 34:51
That ties into some conversations I’ve had with clients about they’re like I’m tired of self care. I’m tired of resiliency. When is someone going to take care of Me that is when do I not have to do the work?

Link Keller 35:03
That is one thing

Lara Taylor 35:04
I’ve been doing the work for so long.

Link Keller 35:06
So much so much work. And it is work. That is one thing in the article the vice article that I really like it does explicitly states that Losing Your Shit breaking down, bawling your eyes out spending, you know, 72 hours in bed, you know, calling up your friend and losing your shit like those, those are resilient acts, those are beneficial that it’s not, you know, expressing frustration and anger and terrible sadness. Those aren’t antithetical to the resiliency and coping with this stuff, we need to have those kinds of outlets. But because we are very social, and we are all collectively dealing with this, it becomes a super not fun game of finding an outlet that won’t cause damage to other people. And that is something that I struggle with. The longer this goes on is like, regularly having a place to talk to people and be like, Wow, I’m like really tired of this stuff. But the longer that that has gone on, it’s like I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to it, Nothing has changed. And so it feels pointless. Even though it does have a point, a release valve has a point. But then I feel like I’ve you know, I’m burdening other people with this emotion that I can’t do anything about, because it’s very externalized. And trying to figure out how to deal with that aspect is a new fun layer onto this whole thing. And I know that that is not new for anybody who’s ever dealt with chronic illness. But for a lot of people, this is a fun new thing we’re dealing with.

Josué Cardona 37:08
I’ve I’ve struggled so much with balancing out all of these things. Take I’m I’m drained, or I got drained, right, like some some things were draining me, I no longer had access to the things that could fill those tanks most easily. And then there are things like I’m seeing, I’m seeing my therapist twice a week now. I have to put up with stuff at work, to be able to keep my insurance to be able to it’s like it’s that it’s that cycle. It’s like, Well, where can I move? I can’t do it all. I think one of the things that I I was burnt out, I was doing too many things. And among those things were like, trying to take care of my own health, and trying to support family members and trying to do my job. And also, right, it’s like you do this, I think this is this is a part of it. Like I’m starting to, I basically had to take a break from a whole bunch of stuff and start rebuilding little by little. And saying, Okay, I can’t put in like the the willpower and the, the mental energy into all of this other stuff. And also, this I have to start somewhere. And I’m slowly building back up and trying to be careful. Because there’s still a lot of stuff going on a lot of stuff is very there’s like and not that this is new to my life or to me, but there’s a there’s a fragility to a lot of these things. That is very

Link Keller 38:56
I think everything feels more fragile. And I think that’s because we’ve all had to really, you can’t look away at how, how so many things are just

Lara Taylor 39:11
you blink and oh no, this other thing is over here and the world is falling apart.

Josué Cardona 39:18
It’s like when I remember when Biden won the election,

Link Keller 39:23
100 years ago

Josué Cardona 39:24
it felt like, like a win, right? But it felt like like, oh, like there was one. There was another thing lurking in the shadows. That could have been so terrible. And at least it felt like this was less terrible. And so there was a sense of relief, but like,

Lara Taylor 39:40
and that was around the time the vaccines came out and we thought oh, that was gonna be the best. We were saved.

Josué Cardona 39:46
But it’s yeah, it’s like that doesn’t end issues with the government and politics and America being America. Right. But there was like a sigh of relief. It’s kind of like the two weeks you described lara, right? It’s like, oh, there were two weeks there and then we like we felt like we were, it was good. And ironically, those are the weeks that people celebrate. And then like, messed it up again, right? Like we went, we Oh,

Lara Taylor 40:10
down in California, like, I was ready to go to Disneyland. It felt safe. And then they lifted the mask mandate, and I was like, fuck, I’m not doing anything.

Josué Cardona 40:20
But But in general, right, the moment people are like, Oh, I feel better. I’m going or like, Oh, I’m not worried about this anymore. And then and then it goes in like that has adverse consequences. Overall in something like, like a pandemic.

Lara Taylor 40:37
Oh, yeah, they’re talking to Labor Day surges, things like that.

Josué Cardona 40:41

Lara Taylor 40:42
Especially in states that don’t have mask mandates.

Josué Cardona 40:45
Yeah. I don’t want to be I have no idea what this Nipah virus is in India. But like, I stopped watching the news. I was somebody who, like, I was so proud of watching the news, right? Like that was one of those things where like I am, I’m informed, saying, No, I can’t do this anymore.

Lara Taylor 41:05
Everyone needs to limit some, some

Josué Cardona 41:08
I’m done.

Link Keller 41:09
For my own health. I’m choosing ignorance.

Josué Cardona 41:13
I was very judgy of people who didn’t who weren’t up on the news. And now I don’t I don’t know nothin

Lara Taylor 41:18
Now you understand. Now you understand?

Josué Cardona 41:21
I’ll tell you when it happened. Well, what happened? It was it was on January sixth. I was like, You know what? It was like that sigh of relief right from the election. And then something like that happened. I’ve actually never seen the footage. I refuse to. I was after that

Lara Taylor 41:44
did you see memes?

Josué Cardona 41:45
I’ve seen memes and stuff, right? Like, I’m aware of what happened. But it wasn’t. I mean, usually I would have been stuck to that. And that was, how was this? What? Wait, what? And then after that, I just stopped watching the news altogether. It’s almost it’s this. It’s like this whiplash, right? It’s like almost how negative of an effect is it? When you you feel hope for a second? And then it just yanks you back into into reality. Like that has been? That is kind of I think that’s what got me it’s like, it’s like when you you’re you’re super stressed out, like when something’s happening. And then now when you you know, you finally relax, you get sick, like you’re you because you’re because your immune systems like, yeah, take a break. It’s like boom,

Lara Taylor 42:32
your fight or flight,

Link Keller 42:33
you get past all of your finals, and then you’re sick all of winter break.

Josué Cardona 42:37
Exactly, exactly, exactly. It feels it’s like that has happened over and over again. Because we want to be optimistic you want to look towards the future, and then like, oh, no, no, no, no, none of this is. Oh, yeah. No. And again, and I’m like, and I understand how much better off I am than so many people that I know, and so many people that I don’t know. And that’s a that’s a part that’s like, hard to talk about this stuff where it is, like, suffering is very much its relative. Right? Like, there’s a lot of research on that, right? Where it’s like,

Link Keller 43:10

Josué Cardona 43:11
sorry. Like, there isn’t. One suffering isn’t worse than another suffering, like people feel it the same. Like there’s a, it’s a it’s more of like a, like a distance that you fall and you rise. The the starting point doesn’t matter. It’s the difference between

Lara Taylor 43:25
the distance

Josué Cardona 43:25
Yeah, between the the point A and point B, and that point A and point B can be you know, it can be something ridiculous, like, oh, I only have $180,000 in the bank. Right. To Oh, I only have $80 in the in my account, right? It’s like,

Link Keller 43:47
or Yay, I have $80 in my account!

Josué Cardona 43:51
Yeah, exactly. It’s like, I didn’t get evicted. Or I didn’t lose my yacht. You know, like, I think those are, it’s, it’s something that’s hard to comprehend, right? Especially because some people’s lives feel, you know, at all extremes, right. It’s like, you may not be able to relate to people who you would consider worse off than you are better off than you depending on your standards. But like, loss is loss, there’s so many and that difference and that and that hope and then, oh, I’m going to get more and then you have less or then you have all of that like it affects everybody at the end. I used to describe Maria right like Hurricane Maria, which I have not finished processing. That was 2017

Lara Taylor 44:36
That’s there you go theres your meme is like a Sam running and that’s like Hurricane Maria. And then you’ve got Steve coming along on his left and then you’ve got

Link Keller 44:49
september twenty two

Lara Taylor 44:50
Captain Marvel come in after him or something.

Josué Cardona 44:53
Look, I left right like I left Puerto Rico. since. I was I was in those hurricane Maria. stuck there, right?

Lara Taylor 45:02
You do not want to be there

Josué Cardona 45:04
dealing with all of that finally, I’m like, I gotta go, I have an opportunity to leave. I leave. And less than two weeks later it’s locked down for the pandemic. Like, I never had any break in between, right? Like I was literally like my house was shaking every single day because of earthquakes that that had started happening when we still had no power like it was it just all that stuff cascades, right. Like like it accumulates, all that stuff adds up. And I don’t want to make all that about me. I was I was going somewhere else. I forgot. I forget how much of this is accumulating I think over time, and we have not processed I should probably bring up Maria to my therapist. I haven’t even gotten that far back.

Lara Taylor 45:56
Damn, when you’re seeing twice a week. You haven’t even talked about the childhood yet.

Josué Cardona 46:01
I mean, we you know, we’re jumping around, but like, you know, the immediate stuff that that that definitely counts. I I don’t remember where I was going. But I believe I was getting at the break. Like there’s no, there’s no break, right? We’re talking about like, for the last year and a half there’s there’s been no break and then you like hopeful? Like, I mean, I think I think that’s another example of it. Like I was hopeful. I was like who I escaped, like aw damn. I mean, and on the resilience part. It was like, I remember talking and the office, like people were freaking out about stuff. And I was like, I’ve been I’ve had a shitty two years, honestly of like nonstop. discomfort, lack of living with dignity, and just fear constantly and like COVID

Link Keller 46:57
At least I have power.

Josué Cardona 47:00

Lara Taylor 47:02
air conditioning.

Josué Cardona 47:02
not bad Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Link Keller 47:05
I can download my Wii games or my Switch games from the comfort of my own home.

Josué Cardona 47:10
Yep, yep.

Link Keller 47:13
wii games, jeez…

Josué Cardona 47:13
Without having to stand outside for eight hours. Outside. ugh that sucked so much

Link Keller 47:24
four am downloading Mario Galaxy?

Josué Cardona 47:28
Yep. Yep. Joy.

Link Keller 47:34
What’s up? It’s not Mario Galaxy. Why am I so hung up on the wii?

Josué Cardona 47:37

Link Keller 47:37
Oh, my God, I I was not joking about my sense of time being fucked up. I’ve apparently back in like 20 B. I’m currently I’m still waiting for a part. But I am building a new PC. And I realized the PC I’m currently using I built in 2015. So just a little under six years ago.

Josué Cardona 48:02
Your time distortion is real. But you did at least say wii first so you were kind of you connected. Wii with galaxy

Link Keller 48:08
up on there. But yeah, no, I feel maybe it’s just today, but it’s like all day. I’ve been like, it’s I’m pretty sure it’s just like mid 2016. And all of the terrible things that have happened in my life haven’t happened yet. This is all just a nightmare. nope I’m building another computer. Yay. Fun. We’re having fun.

Josué Cardona 48:30
In addition to pretending often that things are are okay, or or normal? How hard have you been working toward offsetting that. So for example, I mean, you know, listeners can’t see this. But you can you can see behind me. I’ve built all of these models and Lego and stuff. Like throughout the year, I found a way to like, it’s relaxing and helps me be creative. Like I sit down like it’s just That’s me trying to do something that I that I enjoy that I always wanted to do and kind of trying to like fill up some of those some of the energy and whatever whatever different types of energies and willpower mental energy that has been drained, trying to like pick them up. But it’s, it’s also like, I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into it. And in my case, I spent way too much money trying to feel better. Um,

Lara Taylor 49:41
I mean, this was a while back for me, like I said in the last six months I think for me, things have turned around and gotten better. I’ve seen my family more safely. We’ve been able to have thing outdoor things. I have a regular social outlet every Friday night. streaming with the CASTT gamers and that has been life changing.

Link Keller 50:06
you should plug

Lara Taylor 50:07
I should plug I should plug them. Yes, we play every Friday night streaming on Twitch and YouTube cast with two T’s underscore gamers. We play it’s a bunch of helping professionals playing RPGs and learning how to do the thing we want to do with clients. It’s wonderful. That’s been life changing, and I’ve been able to reflect on myself a lot playing that. But prior to that, like I took a crocheting, um, that was to keep busy. I’ve beaten more video games in the last year and a half than I probably have in my life well together gonna

Link Keller 50:57
take a big stance and say that is that’s the best thing that’s happened right there. That one, Lara’s played more video games.

Lara Taylor 51:04
I just I just beat the Mass Effect trilogy, that I had never played

Link Keller 51:08
three whole games, three hefty games.

Lara Taylor 51:13
And most of the games that I’ve beaten are pretty hefty.

Link Keller 51:15
You love those action adventure games

Lara Taylor 51:18
Exactly. Josué and I were talking about it. We don’t beat games, and I’ve beaten a lot of games. That’s what the pandemic did for me. I think I’ve gotten lost in story.

Josué Cardona 51:29
Did the pandemic do that for you? Or did you do it to? Like, did you play because you just had more time? Or did you?

Lara Taylor 51:36
i had more Time I didn’t have to commute anymore?

Josué Cardona 51:38

Link Keller 51:39
Or have social events?

Lara Taylor 51:42
Or have social events? Exactly. Except for now I have the standing Friday thing. Yeah, yeah. But I think back then it was me trying to make up for and trying to tell myself that everything is gonna be fine. It’s all fine. Now I think I’m less stressed with COVID but being a therapist, the last year and a half has been

Josué Cardona 52:15

Link Keller 52:17

Lara Taylor 52:19
the best thing ever No, I’m I really enjoy my work. I love my clients, I love being able to at least give them some kind of outlet like we’re talking about now. It’s a lot of pain, and a lot of suffering and some joy I get to see the good stuff. I get to see people excited when they’re able when they get to do something new and I have an opportunity and I get to kind of live vicariously through them. So but yeah, that’s what’s gotten me and I have a few people I can talk to about this kind of thing. I have support at work I have my own therapist. But I don’t have a lot of people that I can just lean on and talk to about client stuff so that’s been hard

Josué Cardona 53:12
yeah Okay, have you been able to find anything or have you found yourself working hard to just like feel better

Link Keller 53:26

Josué Cardona 53:29
you don’t have to answer

Link Keller 53:32
I mean I guess you know last year I was watching so so many movies with Remy and we went through all of those series movies. Watching you know watched all the Batman’s and all the Spider Man’s and Fast and Furious movies and final destinations that that was a good outlet for a while having something to look forward to you know having the enjoyment of getting to choose what series we were going to do next. Right now I am working my way through a rewatch of the American horror stories seasons so

Josué Cardona 54:24
thats a lot a lot of

Link Keller 54:25
its lot and so says reason I was laughing before and as I’m saying this now I’m I… escapism is definitely been my go to is and as I think about I’m really surprised I haven’t when I was a child a preteen and teen young teenager and coping with my abusive family situation and that whole thing my Go to was reading I read fantasy books a lot. Definitely as as a form of escapism, though I didn’t realize it until an adult. But I’m I’m not really reading a lot for fun I’ve done I’ve read a couple of comic books and stuff, but I think I’m just kind of avoiding it a little bit, because I’m afraid that I will absolutely use it as as escapism. And I’ll lean into it hard. With, you know, TV shows, especially, which is more what I’ve been watching lately, it is easy for me to multitask. And so I can still, you know, scroll through Reddit or Twitter or whatever, while watching a TV show. That’s probably not good for me. But no, I am. And that’s probably a big part of why I’m feeling so. So burnt out is because I don’t necessarily have those creative outlets that might be beneficial in this situation. I’ve done some some little little projects you guys can see behind me. Barely up up on top of my shelf here. I have these jars, these glass jars. Describing visually for our audio audience, they are clear glass jars in different sizes that I have filled up with floral florist gel beads, they are they’re squishy and they are clear. And when you cover them with water, they become almost invisible. And so I put some of the beads and then a couple of dice inside. And so it looks like the dice is floating. A very easy craft but a craft just the same. I did a creative thing. And I’ve put together a couple of them because I have just a ridiculous amount of dice.

Lara Taylor 57:05
A use for the extra clicky clackys

Link Keller 57:07
if I have turned my clicky clackies into arts and managed to take something that you know took a small amount of spaces take up so much space so much. But it’s pretty

Lara Taylor 57:19
it’s pretty.

Link Keller 57:20
It’s pretty. It’s cute. I’ll follow I’ll post some pictures on the discord later, maybe. But yeah, I feel like I don’t really have the like attention span to sit down and do some of the kinds of art projects that I would normally go towards cross stitch watercolor, I have some clay so like little Sculpey figurines, all those things feel like I it’s not it’s not something that I can do right now. I don’t have the bandwidth to even like sit down and set it up, let alone then do it and then clean it up because I can’t just leave things. willy nilly. I live in a house with other people including a baby. That I guess that that is a is I guess that that has been that has been a positive thing is I’m spending a bunch of time with a baby, which I enjoy. Now it’s not for everybody, but I enjoy hanging out with babies I find that it is hard for me to be in my anxious mindset when I’m hanging out with a baby they very much force you to be in the moment mindfulness style. Because you never know what they’re sticking in their mouths. And you can’t wait to find out you have to know right now. But yeah, I don’t know I probably should build some Legos. I guess.

Lara Taylor 58:53
Don’t let the baby eat them

Link Keller 58:54
don’t let em do it. No. No Legos for baby.

Josué Cardona 58:59
Yeah, I’m still trying to figure some of this stuff out. I’m not sure how often I’m telling myself that something is really good. And I’m not actually just settling because, like, the options that if the world were different, or if circumstances were different, I would have I would choose otherwise is that like, even if even if at a conscious level, I’m looking at it as like hey, this is actually kind of cool. Or you know, there’s some there are some positive aspects to this or there’s I see the benefits deep down there parts of my world like well I guess I don’t really have too many more choices, or of the choices that I have. This is the best one and kind of how how that’s affected different areas at different things. depression’s A hell of a drug.

Link Keller 1:00:04
Oh, yeah, I’m thinking frequently referenced on GT radio, Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest. And the idea of, you know, we’re we’re in this pandemic, we’re at home, there’s this whole list of things that you could do. And all of them are crossed out. All of them are grayed out. There’s just the like, Watch the next episode of American Horror Story? And read r/ Am I the asshole? It’s like, I just I guess I’ll keep doing that for another hour and a half. We’ll see where it takes me. Yeah, nowhere. Yeah.

Josué Cardona 1:00:42

Link Keller 1:00:47
I don’t feel better now. I do actually. I do feel a little bit better. I don’t know how useful this will be for other people, but it’s really helped me.

Josué Cardona 1:01:00
Yeah, the burnout is real. And I think I, I hope that at least I think there’s some shame that can come with that. Right. Like, because we think of like, oh, you know, things could be worse or so many people have? Absolutely. than I do. Or you know, I could?

Link Keller 1:01:23
Yeah, I mean, just grappling with, you know, functionally in my life. I have I have lived through worse. This isn’t the worst. I’ve experienced. But, I’m experiencing it right now. And I feel a way about it.

Lara Taylor 1:01:39
Right now.

Josué Cardona 1:01:41
Yeah, there’s a compounding to it. And yeah, I don’t know if I feel better.

Link Keller 1:01:50
If we could convince like, the whole continent maybe to just take like a you say like a four week break. I want to say six weeks but I will settle for a four week break. Everybody. We’re not doing anything for four weeks. We’re just gonna deal with our feelings. Purge.

Lara Taylor 1:02:15
that might that might not be a bad idea in general, people take a four week break. Maybe cases would drop?

Link Keller 1:02:22
Yeah, can you? I don’t want to do this. But can you imagine? Can you imagine if in Oh, I don’t know, say April 2020. If, if collectively, we all decided like we need to take a break and actually had like a fucking shut down. That’s that is a big part of it is is the more I learn about my experience in America, and how things absolutely could have been different, how different choices could have been made. And having to grapple with that is exhausting. Like is not a zen mindset to be like, it could have been better, but like, it could have been better, y’all.

Lara Taylor 1:03:09
We can’t go back in time

Link Keller 1:03:10
we can’t go back

Lara Taylor 1:03:11
time machine

Link Keller 1:03:12
can’t go back.

Josué Cardona 1:03:15
It’s hard that none of this is universal. Right? Like, like people people have. Some burnout is completely different, I think for people and even, like, for me the idea of four weeks of doing nothing is more depressing. Right? It’s like it would be it would be it’s kind of part of

Lara Taylor 1:03:39
you just need to online retreat Josué.

Josué Cardona 1:03:42
I don’t know. I’m

Lara Taylor 1:03:45
doing something but it’s also doing nothing.

Josué Cardona 1:03:48
There’s a Yeah. What kind of retreat?

Lara Taylor 1:03:54
I don’t know.

Link Keller 1:03:57
The one where they helicopter you out into the middle of the woods. And and then you get you can just you can just scream. You can just scream into the woods.

Josué Cardona 1:04:09
I don’t know. There’s a there’s a part of it for me has been somewhat of a powerlessness. Right, that I couldn’t help certain people with certain things I can everything from like trying to convince an anti Vaxxer you know, to have an anti Vaxxer family member to try to take care of themselves so they don’t get sick. Um, and and then, you know, having people in your family die because of that. Having just so many different things where it’s like yeah, I mean, you’re generally powerless and a lot. But there’s a there’s a big big component Have that where you wouldn’t? Would you don’t know where to put those? Those energies? I don’t know. It’s a lot of stuff. It’s a lot. I’m glad we talked about it. I’m glad you brought up this this article. I’m glad we I don’t know, makes me think, you know, how do we how do we address this? How do we acknowledge this moving forward? And how do we how do we adjust to that? Because if something feels, yeah, like something it’s been kind of off, right, that we haven’t been able to talk about this stuff. So we’ll see. Um, any closing thoughts?

Link Keller 1:05:46
Good luck. Good luck, everybody.

Josué Cardona 1:05:53
Well, let us know. Let’s know how burnt out you are. And if you have any tips, what has worked for you? I think I think it’ll be good.

Link Keller 1:06:04
Yeah, share your coping mechanisms and we have on the discord

Josué Cardona 1:06:09
scream into the void

Link Keller 1:06:10
we have here on the discord we have emotional support, if you want people to actually like engage with whatever your emotional situation is. Or you can go to our scream into the void channel where you can just unload and people will just respond,

Josué Cardona 1:06:27
the void receives.

Link Keller 1:06:28
the void receives. Which honestly, I am so glad I’m so glad we have that channel. It has been extremely useful to me because there’s absolutely like I just such as I just want to scream. It’s so upsetting. And there’s not really anything you can do and having people you know, they can’t do anything either. And people want people want to provide support, but it becomes so flat and sometimes, honestly, it makes me more upset when people are just like, you know, trying to do the positive thing. And be emotionally supportive. It’s like sometimes sometimes that’s not what you need. Sometimes you just need to scream and have somebody be all like I hear your scream

Josué Cardona 1:07:23
just give me a nod.

Link Keller 1:07:26
Just a little, little, little nod.

Josué Cardona 1:07:29
Yep. Yep.

Link Keller 1:07:31

Josué Cardona 1:07:33
Acknowledged. Thank you for listening. Links to the discord and all of our other community spaces are the show notes. For more Geek Therapy, visit geek therapy.org. We’ll be back soon. Bye, everybody.

Link Keller 1:07:52
Remember to geek out and do good. When you can.

Josué Cardona 1:07:55
geek out and do good. I forgot to say remember to geek out and do good. Please, at the very least

Lara Taylor 1:08:03
geek out.

Josué Cardona 1:08:04
Keep geeking out and do good in the world. Wherever you can. We need it. thank you for the reminder Link

Link Keller 1:08:15

Josué Cardona 1:08:17
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Characters / Media
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Shang-Chi
  • This is Us
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Chicago Med
  • Mass Effect series
  • American Horror Story
  • Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest
Themes / Topics

Conversation Topics:

* COVID / Pandemic
* Burnout
* Death
* Difficult emotions
* Grief
* Mental Health Services
* Resilience
* Link to the Vice article

Relatable Experience:

* Self-Care
* Resilience
* Anger
* Burnout
* Exhaustion
* Death / Grief
* Depression
* Fear/Anxiety
* Health (Physical)
* Loss (other than death)
* New Life Event (New Rules)
* Trauma

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

Links / Social Media

Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com

GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org

GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord

GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy

Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona

Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq

Join the Conversation!

Have you been feeling the pandemic burnout? What has helped you cope?

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