family, mental health, silliness

Poophoria… and phooey on the mean among us.

I’m experiencing it right now. Basically, it’s how you feel so much better after you’ve taken an especially large, messy, and uncomfortable dump. You get a rush of endorphins that makes you feel pretty good and a little bit “high” for a short while…

I first saw this term coined in a book I read called What’s Your Poo Telling You? I read it the first time we lived in Germany. In those days, I wrote a lot of book reviews for a site called Epinions.com, and I went through a shit phase. I read and reviews many books about shit… as well as all of the other substances that come from body functions. I left What’s Your Poo Telling You? in storage. It was a clever little book, though, along with its follow up, What’s My Pee Telling Me? Both books were co-written by a doctor named Anish Sheth, who explained all of the interesting phenomenons that happen as your body makes waste.

I own all three of these books, as well as a few others! Too bad I didn’t bring them with me to Germany.

Anyway… the poophoria feeling was fun, but it’s now passed. I wish everything passed so quickly and easily.

I’m now sitting here thinking about a story I read last night about a large family gathering in Texas. The family group of fifteen is close-knit and, before all of this COVID-19 shit started, used to get together a lot for fajitas and birthday cake. On November 1, they had an impromptu birthday gathering. They meant to do it outside, but I guess the familiarity of being together again lulled them into a false sense of security. Before they knew it, they were all inside, sitting on the couch maskless. And, you guessed it, they all tested positive for COVID-19. Every single last one of them. Their 57 year old mother ended up in the hospital.

This family thought they’d be okay because they had been very cautious since the beginning of the pandemic. They tried to stay home, avoiding gatherings with people who weren’t in their households. They didn’t go to churches, bars, or theaters. They cut down on their family visits and held them outside. And they worked from home as much as possible. Still, in an unguarded moment, they relaxed their vigilance and got together. Unfortunately, someone in the group had the virus and passed it on.

So the family decided to make a video about their experiences with COVID-19. They did so in an attempt to spare other people their experiences with the virus by confirming that it’s real. In doing so, they put themselves out there for public derision and rude comments from the masses. Sure enough, that’s what they got.

A screenshot of the nice family from Texas who all got COVID.

As I was reading about this family, I just felt badly for them. I wish them a speedy and full recovery. But apparently, I was in the minority, because I read a lot of really nasty comments from people. Many people were sarcastic, and quite a few others wrote that they’re “sick” of stories like this one. More than a few wrote, “They didn’t listen when others have shared their stories, why would they think anyone would listen to them?” The overall sentiment was one of “no sympathy” whatsoever, and “I told you so.”

A small sampling of the comments on the Washington Post.

I do feel sorry for this family. They’re a loving group of people who just want to be together– with their loved ones. And, like every other human being on the planet, they’re fallible. They thought they’d get away with a get-together. A year ago, a gathering for birthday cake and fajitas would have been perfectly fine. I don’t see the need to judge them for getting sick. Everybody gets sick eventually. It’s not their fault there’s a deadly virus and, though they should have been more careful, they’re only human. I commend them for trying to help by sharing their story, and I hope they get well soon.

Although I’ve not been a big fan of face masks, and I still fervently hope we can eventually ditch them, I have always taken the virus seriously. That’s why I’ve done my best to avoid people. I don’t remember the last time I went to downtown Wiesbaden. It’s been many months. I haven’t been in the car since October 4th, which was when we brought Noyzi home. I haven’t left the neighborhood at all since then, and it sucks. Fortunately, the virus is not as out of control in Europe as it is in the United States. I suspect that most people will eventually be exposed to it, although hopefully the upcoming vaccines will make the inevitable exposure less dangerous.

I wish people would be kinder. We’re all tired of this shit. We can’t stay locked down forever… much of what makes life worth living is being denied by the presence of the virus. I read another sad story last night about a young man who killed himself because he couldn’t take the isolation caused by the pandemic. His father knew his son struggled with depression and did what he could to help him. But his son’s therapist had to shut down her practice, and he could no longer hang out with his friends, who, in the past, had helped him through his depressive episodes. So, despite his father’s efforts to keep his son’s demons at bay, the boy purchased a weapon and killed himself. Which brings to mind another question… why in the HELL are gun stores considered “essential” businesses right now?

In the same story, a different bereaved father went to his son’s grave after the sixteen year old committed suicide. He encountered a couple of the boy’s classmates– two girls– one of whom was sobbing. And one of them said that she also thought of suicide a lot. She’d tried to get help by calling a hotline, but the local psychiatric hospital only had sixteen beds and they were all full. She said that almost everyone she knew had considered suicide.

Frankly, having suffered from depression and suicidal ideation myself, I understand how these girls feel. I would not want to be young right now. The future must look very grim to today’s adolescents, who have grown up in an era during which they can’t even enjoy feeling safe at school, thanks to all the school shooters. Now there’s a pandemic, which makes going to school even more dangerous. They’ve lost support from their friends and the ability to have carefree fun. A lot of them have seen their parents lose their jobs and their homes. Some of them feel like a burden and that the future is hopeless. It kind of makes one wonder what the purpose of living is.

From the beginning of this pandemic, I’ve been afraid for people’s mental health. Most people are meant to socialize. They crave human touch and conversation. They love live music and drama. They like to share things like meals and celebrations. The virus has made a lot of what makes life worthwhile forbidden. I don’t begrudge people who are looking for relief. They’re only human, as we all are. And the smug, self-righteous, unempathetic twits out there who think people “deserve” to get sick and judge them for it are headed for a fall. Karma has a way of dealing with those types.

So… while I can be cranky sometimes and vent a bit in my blogs, I also try to have empathy. This is a crisis that has touched every single one of us. People are just trying to get by.

And… when I get a touch of Poophoria after a glorious dump, I feel even more appreciative of the euphoric rush than I did a year ago, when I could sit in a restaurant and enjoy the company of others without having to worry about a deadly virus making me sick. You gotta take your thrills where you can find them.

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2 thoughts on “Poophoria… and phooey on the mean among us.

  1. People can be such jerks. The family who shared their experience was obviously just trying to be helpful.

    I caught COVID, which was probably inevitable. My supervisors tried to keep my duties in areas where my exposure would be minimal, but it has been heavy here since a short time after Canadian Thanksgiving Day, which was October 11. I did develop opportunistic bacterial pneumonia, but my lungs have remained fully inflated, which is great, especially in light of my history.

    How is the new dog?

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