Coping with Covid Affective Differentiation
Not sure if I’m coining a new term here, but I notice a new struggle happening within society. Covid Affective Differentiation is something similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) S.A.D. is when someone’s mood is low due to seasonal changes, like feeling depressed or in the doldrums during wintertime. Covid Affective Differentiation is when you’re feeling down or dismayed due to having differing viewpoints regarding the perception of Covid.
For most places in the world, individuals have arrived at the 2-year Anniversary since an announcement of the Covid pandemic. Throughout the two years there’s been continued discussion and speculation as to what the Covid Pandemic actually is. With this speculation, individuals find themselves with disparate views from others within their friend circles and social network.
Part of the problem is that a narrative structure for Covid, and many other topics, is that one is either ‘for’ or ‘against.’ The topic is often spoken as binary in the media, when in reality it’s much more nuanced. Some individuals will see any deviation from a standardized narrative as opposition, when it’s like someone extrapolating their own unique synthesis of thoughts.
For those who maintain a binary or contrarian context, they will be less apt to listen what someone else has to say. When each individual isn’t granted an opportunity to speak and be heard, this heightens their separation and diminishes the fulfillment of they need for connection. When meeting one’s need for connection decreases, one’s Covid Affective Differentiation increase.
I have to admit, for someone who shares publicly about many things, I haven’t shared much publicly about the Covid topic. My primary reason for choosing this stance is because I notice how Covid discussions have a tendency to devolve into divisiveness and polarization. I can handle when individuals speak in earnest with varied opinions, but polarization appears to occur at increasing rates. The Covid topic seems to have been consumed by the dynamics of the growing infodemic.
Since, it’s not my intent to divide or polarize, why would I engage in a topic that seems to elicit that behavior more frequently than not? If online platforms encourage divisiveness, then having those discussions within online formats goes against my intention to avoid polarization. Furthermore, my intention is to connect people and bridge ideas. Another intention is to be of service and to be a reliable resource for those who seek support.
Despite my apprehension of discussing Covid online, I make the occasional effort. My attempt to relay something about our shared Covid experience that perhaps most of us (if not all) can agree on: feeling divided has a negative consequences. The fact that many of us have been affected by the discord of all the differing viewpoints is a commonality even with the individual Covid perceptions that differentiate us.
An online acquaintance recently asked me: “Do you have any thoughts on how to deliver your perspective on Covid? Any tips you can share regarding keeping cool calm and collected?” I can offer a response, yet I’m still figuring out how to have these discussions earnestly and efficiently.
if you take those 2 questions and plug in nearly any replacement for the word Covid, it would seem easier to answer and allow a discussion. Since it’s Covid at the center of the questioning here, there seems to be an inclination that we must go about the discussion differently than our life experience would intuitively inform us. Something has broken the natural flow of how we have discourse and get to know what another is thinking. Why is this happening?
Could it be the mere mention of Covid is now correlated with such a wide array of concerning concepts and connotations that it’s virtually impossible to dissect our thoughts into digestible, nonvolatile parts? Most individuals within a circle of friends or a social network will have somewhat varying opinions on any topic.
Why wouldn’t that be allowed for something like Covid? Once again, when I say Covid, I mean someone’s perception of what is happening and what they are experiencing in the world since the introduction of Covid-19. I’m not referring to what someone believes the Covid virus to be. In other words, how has the introduction of the existence of Covid affected one’s life?p