The number of students who are telling me they struggle with anxiety and depression is unprecedented in my career. And before anybody suggests I’m causing this, professors at other departments are saying the same. Everybody expected attendance problems because of COVID but they never materialized. Instead, students can’t study because they are depressed, paralyzed by panic attacks, covered in eczema because of stress, etc.
Adults aren’t doing much better. Everybody is on something, be it booze, weed, or scrips just to be able to get through the day. I don’t fully understand what’s causing this. I have heard explanations but I’m not feeling them. But it’s disturbing. I know two people who are behaving very erratically, and these are people I’d never seen in this state. One – a man in his early fifties – started weeping when I made a casual comment about the weather. “Hey, finally it’s nice outside!” I said, and the poor man started shaking, with tears rolling down his face. I’m friendly with his wife, and I know there haven’t been any events that caused this. Nobody died, nobody is sick or unemployed.
We didn’t have any lockdowns to speak of in this area. No vaccine mandates, nothing. So it’s not like people have been locked up for two years and are now devolving.