It's Post-Covid PTSD, Duh!
Our psyches have been kneecapped by what we've been through.
For the last few weeks, economists and other policy wonks have been arguing over why Americans seem to rate the current state of the U.S. economy as…bad, given that most economic indicators say our lives should be good. Inflation is going down, unemployment is really low, people are making more money. Why does everyone keep telling pollsters that their lives suck?!
Well, it turns out, it’s mostly because life is bad.
But not for the reasons most people seem to think. Not to give credence to annoying Twitter economists, but I think there is something strange going on when the usual indicators that Americans feel life is adequately satisfying no longer accurately show what they used to.
So what’s going on?
Well, we can blame the fact that rent and housing prices are so high, we can blame the constant violence being perpetrated by our politicians, we can blame the fact that much of our country is an inherently isolating and lonely place to be by design. And that’s all true.
But I think there’s an under-discussed culprit that’s adding to all of our woes: our brains are not working well because of Covid. And I don’t mean long Covid, though undoubtedly that too. I mean that we have not collectively recovered from a several-year period of watching millions of people die while strapped to machines in hospital parking lots and hallways; of being isolated from each other for longer than we ever have been; of being scared of the simple human pleasures of touch and camaraderie. In other words, we all have PTSD, and none of us seem willing to admit it.