I hate hearing the words “COVID-19” and “the government.” Whatever the news is, it always leaves me angry and disappointed. But I don’t lash out or rip items apart in my room. Instead of opening up—I bottle up the nearly three months’ worth of emotions inside of me.
As a journalist, I can’t simply turn my brain off and take care of myself. The only time I get to process everything is through a podcast called “Our Plague Year.”
“Our Plague Year” is the brainchild of Night Vale Presents’ Joseph Fink. Like everyone else, he’s been experiencing panic and anxiety attacks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is hurt, confused and worried all the time ’cause it seems like life gets worse every day.
But as the tagline of the podcast goes: “It’s a scary year, but it doesn’t have to be scary alone.”
They describe the podcast as a new kind of current events stream. Instead of pragmatic headlines greeting our ears, it’s anecdotes from fellow creatives like Fink, frontliners who are scared every day and citizens going stir-crazy in their houses. “[It’s] an island in a storm of bad headlines. An experiment in public anxiety,” their description reads.
It’s a communal podcast where people read their essays or share their anecdotes as we get through the plague year together. Some participants are the host’s friends, while others are from listeners who drop by the podcast’s voicemail. This podcast brings a certain kind of pain as we listen to others’ pandemic stories. Although it’s a tearjerker, it’s also comforting to hear that you’re not alone during this time of self-isolation.
Work-life balance for me is a mere illusion right now. Sometimes, there are lulls in my evening as I try to go back to sleep. It’s getting harder with the political climate, lack of government initiatives to combat COVID-19 and my personal neglect of my mental health.
As I tune in to “Our Plague Year,” I listen to the community I’ve been ripped away from. It helps me realize that I’m not alone with my panic and anxiety attacks—and yet, I’m disturbed. I only get to care for myself every 3 a.m., while tuning in to what seems to be apocalypse radio.
Listen to the podcast here:
Art by Rogin Losa