The Death Drive

No, not the title of my daily outings in the car with my wife who is learning how to drive (although it’s not an inappropriate name). The ‘Death Drive’ is what psychoanalyst Josh Cohen calls a state that is moving us “away from life and into a kind of stasis or entropy”. Conversely, the ‘Life Drive’ encourages us to do new things, meet people and be creative. You see where I’m going with this?

Like lots of you, I’ve been in a funk lately, especially since the beginning of this year. The brain fog has good and truly rolled in. I go to the same shops to buy food, sit in the same room day after day, and yes, see the same person (lovely as she is) nearly exclusively. Even my rides are all the same as what I’ve been doing for years now, particularly right now when we have a 10 km radius to keep within. My two sources of stimulation are small home improvement projects and my ‘death drives’ with Shoko.

As the article above states, the great paradox of all this is that staying home and unstimulated keeps us and others safe, i.e. alive, but this physical and mental isolation is at the same time killing us, at least temporarily. Turn this around and you can quickly see that some things that make us feel totally alive – like barreling down a mountain pass at 90 kph – are the very things that could really do us in. Even going outside to drive to work increases your chances to get killed significantly. To feel alive often means taking risks, physical or otherwise.

The good news about all this is that the Death Drive is nearly always temporary, unless you were already experiencing it before Covid, in which case you are in trouble. For a person who has always had an abundance of Life Drive, I’ll take this opportunity to have a rest, paint some walls and wait for the day I can climb and descend a mountain without a mask in my back pocket.

12 thoughts on “The Death Drive

  1. I hear you Brother! Ginette and I have been saying this for months. We are fatigued and exhausted of the same thing over and over again just to get through another day. Sorry for the controversy, but if living like this with the fear of Covid is the alternative to just living, I want no part of it!!!!!!

    • It’s a choice we all have to make, bud, and it’s not an easy one. I’ll stay put (for the most part) till I get my jab and then start kissing everyone I meet!

  2. My wife and I have been feeling the same for the past year. We actually had another couple over for lunch on Easter monday and it was amazing how much better we felt after that. Just having contact with others face to face meant everything. It also shows how much isolation drives us into a bad place.

    • I hear you, Rich. I actually do see a couple of friends every Monday for an open-air beer, and just going downtown yesterday ended up making me want to post travel photos on Facebook 😉 Doesn’t take much to make a difference these days.

  3. We’ve been surprisingly not too bad until perhaps the last 1-2 months. I think part of funk is not knowing when we will be vaccinated (if they’d only give us a date!!). My wife and I have become a little more intolerant of people not following the obligatory mask wearing on public transport. We’ve rarely used trams in the past year but the other evening there was a grunt of teens that sat opposite us. One was not wearing her mask properly! Seriously? You’ve been somewhere else other than planet earth for the past year? Anyway with a little encouragement she put it on. Gave me the bird as she was leaving. Then another attitude of teens (love those collective terms) came on and same thing. I guess when you’re a mouth breather you don’t have to cover your nose!! 😡. Whatever! One thing we’ve done to spice up our lives in this pandemic is to drive to different grocery stores for a change of scenery. Little joys.

    • ‘Grunt of teens’…nice!

      We haven’t braved any sort of collective transport since this all started and I think it’ll stay that way considering what you say.

      And yeah, Picard has been our ‘fancy food’ place for the last year and a bit. Our 23rd anniversary dinner last night was pretty easy to whip up!

      • It is difficult to tell how losing one’s faculties will affect one. I like to think that I will be resigned and dignified (if I survive that long in the first place) but it might be very easy to become angry and resentful. Fingers crossed.

  4. Agree, it does feel like a constant struggle to just, keep doing whatever you can! We’ve gotten both shots and are past the 14 day period to make them stick but with all the new Covid Variants out there, and not knowing if these shots really will keep us from getting sick because of the variants, It does feel like this will never end. Hope you get released soon from the 10K restrictions, we’ve been there with 5 miles limits for a time, hang in there! 🙂

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