We are sure living in bleak times, no rocket science is needed to figure that one out. This year has been quite the uphill battle, thrown into chaos by a pandemic most untimely. This ‘new normal’ that we’ve found ourselves exacts a heavy toll, and for us, who continue to go through the ongoing collapse of Venezuela well — the pandemic doesn’t help at all.

Ever since the inexorable collapse of our country began we’ve become slaves to entropy, devoid of proper respite, and with our collective sanity eroded little by little. In Venezuela it’s no longer a matter of when things will get better — it’s a matter of how worse will things become. With every passing month we succumb more and more to entropy, things continue to systematically break down, until our mind and body begin to as well.

Stay safe, wear a mask, don’t get your bike seized, don’t get sick, hurry because water can get cut at any moment, brace yourself because the mandatory power rationing will begin soon, internet is acting up and you can’t get your online class today nor get any work done, your kids are hungry, be careful what you say and to whom, be careful what you post—lest you risk getting arrested, trust no one, make sure you have food on the table for your family, don’t get robbed, don’t break ‘curfew’, don’t throw a party, no gasoline, no escapism, no time for literature, no cable, no rest.

It’s easy to shroud oneself in gloom and doom, the country’s situation literally hands those two things to you. The past has been torturous, the present has become chaotic, and the future ever so uncertain. Time slips from your fingers faster than the country’s undead currency, months of quarantine have already passed, and before you know it, most of the year is gone already. The hopelessness and nihilism sink their claws into your psyche, the anxiety ferments and infects your mind, and lastly, the depression overcomes you. That’s how I’ve felt lately, I thought I had overcome this earlier this year or at least had it in relative control — on path to getting myself together — but here I am, once again, dancing with my own worst enemy: myself.

I’ve always had my bouts with depression ever since I was an angsty teenager, but never had I gone through such a raging storm like the past three years. It’s been a rollercoaster that I continue to wrestle with, and dealing with it is part of growing up, part of being an adult in its early 30s that’s trying to desperately find its place in the world amidst a failed socialist state, not just for my sake, but for my brother, friends, and everyone who I can potentially be a force of good for.

Earlier this year, I mentioned how no one stays sane here. Life doesn’t have much value left in these lands, and our collective mental well being has been torn asunder. Everyone’s hopeless, riddled with anxiety, plagued with depression, and our suicides rates have dramatically skyrocketed.

The damage is almost irreparable at this point, and if we’re this broken then I shudder to imagine how devastated the minds of people living in war-torn nations must be. Perhaps one day we’ll heal, perhaps one day we’ll know peace and be rid of the collective anxiety and depression that shackles our potential — one day, if and when the country manages to get rid of both this authoritarian socialist regime and the dovish and incompetent opposition.

Back in March I said that my daily routine didn’t change much with the quarantine and that one shouldn’t feel isolated because you’re never truly alone, and all that still holds true. However, some entropy was inevitable, I just grossly underestimated its effect on me.

July of 2020 was a month most troublesome, it got quite unbearable at times, a lot of unrelated things occurred one after another, and it got unbearable at times, I am only human after all, a broken one while at it. I’m certainly not an expert on mental health (or an expert in anything to be quite honest with you), and I never paid too much attention to my mental and physical well being.

Lately, I’ve found myself with a constant feeling of fatigue and anemia, and mentally unable to enjoy things that I love doing, and it’s greatly taking a toll on my productivity — so yeah, I better check myself before I shrek myself. I am a creature of routine, and my cyclical mental woes are one unhealthy routine I must shatter in its entirety, but I don’t know if I can do it alone. Rest assured that I’m not intending to do so through substances of any kind, although I could use a drink or two right now.

But setting aside my past regrets and the chaos of the present, the one thing that’s eroding my mind the most is the uncertain future. Even though I am continuing my efforts towards getting a visa the country remains locked and my passport is weeks away from becoming useless in most countries. Getting a new one seems to be yet another obstacle that I need to mentally prepare myself for, something that I can’t do anything about it right now, as the relevant offices remain closed down.

How to survive the Venezuelan insanity, step one:

I suppose that I have a log of baggage that I’ve been carrying on my mind for over ten years, piling one thing on top of another, and it all became so evident to me over the past weeks. When my mother died, I made the mistake of not seeking help for myself, a friend of hers offered some sessions right before she fled the country, and I chose to have her see my brother first because he is, and will always be, my priority in life.

In that regard, I’m starting to notice a growing anxiety on him, he doesn’t verbally say it to me, but he shows it in the way he behaves and acts, how he constantly taps the floor with his right leg, how he fidgets stuff with his left hand, how he tries to rush things through our hourly water rations even though there’s still plenty of time left, how his nights have become even more restless (which I stay awake with him so he doesn’t feel alone, except the nights where exhaustion overtakes me).

The way he reacts when I sneeze or cough, especially if it’s a few hours/days after my weekly grocery run is another thing where I tell him to relax and calm down. I too notice that he’s been having issues finding enjoyment in things — long story short, I wish I knew how to get rid of that for him, I just want him to be happy and live in peace, he is too pure and innocent.

Further detachment and desensitization from the country’s affairs was bound to happen. When everything is so insurmountable what else can one do but to focus on protecting that which is important to you. I suppose that these past turbulent months, and the effect they’ve had on my psyche is what prompted me to take one final look at Sword of the Nation’s draft to add one final but crucial element: Hope.

I need to learn how to worry less on things that are currently beyond my control, and focus more on the things that I can control, I may be 32 years old, but I still have a lot to learn about life. I’m sure the best is yet to come, and one day all of this will be a distant memory, that’s something I wish for my fellow countrymen as well. If all goes according to keikaku, I intend to find ways to make them smile once more, let others fight for the political scraps of Venezuela, my investment is its people and their potential.

Here’s to a more optimistic and better August for everyone else.

Stay safe, love you all.