A YEAR OF PANDEMIC JOURNALING
Journal de bord d'une année de pandémie
The Pandemic Journaling Project rassemble les journaux intimes de milliers de personnes ayant accepté de rendre leurs états d’âme publics pendant la pandémie. Un an après, l'étude de ces écrits permettrait de tirer une analyse collective de cette période. Pour plus d'informations sur le projet, rendez-vous sur : www.pandemic-journaling-project.chip.uconn.edu
Right now. Right now feels like forever. … Right now feels so long and without any end in sight, without a change.” Teacher and mother of four, in her 30s, from Massachusetts.
2. This entry is among more than 7,800 from some 1,000 people of all ages and diverse backgrounds who have been keeping digital diaries on the same platform. The Pandemic Journaling Project, a joint initiative of the University of Connecticut and Brown University, began in the spring and now contains perhaps one of the most complete records of North Americans’ internal adjustments over months of pandemic, protest and political division.
3. The story it tells, so far, is a deeper one than the many one-off surveys done last year, which reported predictable increasing levels of distress. Outside experts familiar with the project said it may be the first real X-ray into the pandemic’s psychological impact, both individual and communal, and would likely be a resource for years to come. 4. "The journals have this stream-of-consciousness aspect," said Katherine A. Mason, an anthropologist at Brown University who established the platform, with another anthropologist, Sarah Willen, at the University of Connecticut. "You can watch things play out in vivo, how people's internal dialogues shift over time."
THE BEGINNING 5. “I am a health care worker in a trauma one level hospital. Now that the first wave is over and the hospital is quiet, I am still terrified of contracting the disease and spreading to others. I am not sure we can handle another wave.”
Health care worker, in her 50s, from New York.
6. The rolling lockdowns, in cities on the east and west coasts, still had an unreal quality for many, and there was a sense in the air that we could contain the virus with the initial response, or that it might ease off in the warmer weather, like the seasonal flu. 7. By May, those expectations were nearly impossible to sustain: Thousands of infections had been circulating undetected in many major U.S. cities, and New York had become the world’s epicenter, with hospitals overwhelmed and some 500 deaths a day at its peak, which helped seed outbreaks around the country.
8. As the reality of an indefinite psychological marathon descended, many journal writers began to count their blessings, in entries tinged with both gratitude and fear. In their preliminary analysis, Mason and Willen found that expressions of guilt, privilege and gratitude emerge early in the epidemic and appear in about one-third of the 530 Englishlanguage contributors overall.
A SUMMER OF PROTESTS, FIRES AND EXISTENTIAL DREAD 9. “The world feels like it is imploding again with the murder of Black and brown people by police, children murdering innocent protesters, teachers scared to go into schools, the economy continu
ing to collapse, a hurricane. It’s overwhelming …” Nonprofit worker and mother in her 40s from New Jersey
10. Over the summer, COVID-19 outbreaks swept through much of the country, even as Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets in more than 400 cities and towns. By August, California was in flames, ravaged by one of the worst wildfires on record. And all of that seemed further fuel for an increasingly nasty, deeply polarized presidential campaign that ramped up in September and October.
11. Many people, especially younger diarists, were ready to scream. The journals swell and recoil like a living organism, spilling forth a growing sense that the world was coming off its moorings. 12. James Pennebaker, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, has been tracking the pandemic on Reddit and other platforms: “The two issues of race and COVID clearly affected each other in the summer; the anxiety over one thing can spur anxiety over the other. Then come the fires and politics, and all these things begin feeding each other.”
13. What to make of this existential dread? “You get this sense of people asking, Who am I in this place, in this context, when I can’t trust institutions that are supposed to protect me?” Willen said.
THE DEPTHS OF WINTER 14. “The pandemic has attacked us right where we are most human; it has tried to rob us of our connectedness.”
A case manager in her in 60s, from Illinois.
15. The holidays delivered perhaps the cruelest reminder of social loss, after presidential elections results that brought so much turmoil agitation, troubles / to teem fourmiller, grouiller / self-worth estime de soi.
16. to flourish s’épanouir / in keeping with conformément à, en adéquation avec / commitment engagement / disruption chamboulement.
17. World Health Organization (l')Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS) / researcher chercheur / mind esprit / weary las, fatigué.