This past June my husband and I contracted Covid. After two-and-a-half years, the virus that kept us indoors, negatively affected our jobs, caused division in our families, and took the lives of more than 1 million people in the United States and 6.5 million worldwide had finally gotten us. We had to cancel all our plans, and in addition to feeling sick, we also felt defeated. Although it’s been months since we tested negative, it seems like we never truly healed. A mental fog still dominates our waking hours.
Two months after getting sick, we moved out of our apartment. It held too many reminders of the months of lockdown, too many associations with the depression we felt over those two-plus years of the pandemic. It was a small Los Angeles apartment, one of those 1940s buildings in Los Feliz. There were clues that it had originally been a studio with a murphy bed, and that it had been awkwardly redone with a bedroom off the kitchen, a later addition. A perfectly fine apartment for a couple working in the city—but it had become a prison cell shared by two adults working from home and a small dog. We felt that our physical and mental health both depended on our moving. As we left the empty apartment, I felt nostalgic for the memories we had made, but the mental fog and anxiety were so palpable I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Now, in our new apartment, two blocks down from our old one, we have more space and even a little patio: enough room for two adults, one dog, and our mental illness. You can leave a place behind, but you can’t leave yourself.