Quarantine Brain -> Covid Rage


Back in late May, I started writing this post about how quarantine was making me feel confused and absent-minded. At the time, I was worrying about how I kept forgetting things and misusing words and the fact that I put a pot of water on to boil and then promptly forgot about it and went downstairs to use the treadmill. (Nothing bad happened… KJ was home. Also, my workouts are never that long so it would have been fine anyway.)

Confused woman

This is not me. I mean, look at her blown-out hair and make-up. But this is generally how I felt.

This was the post…

There is a common side effect to chemotherapy drugs to which cancer patients routinely refer to as “Chemo Brain.” My mom would often complain about being forgetful or feeling absent-minded – Did I make that follow-up appointment already? When did I buy that ground beef? Who was it that just told me she is expecting twins? – and she would inevitably blame her Chemo Brain.

New parents are all too familiar with this condition, only they know it as “Baby Brain,” a sleep-deprivation-induced haze in which it becomes common to pour coffee into your cereal and forget the name of your childhood best friend or maybe even your current best friend. If your kid is a really bad sleeper, you may even leave your car running with the back doors of your minivan wide open while you drink coffee with a friend for two hours. (True story.)

Well, fast forward to the past few weeks and I’ve noticed something similar happening to me.

One day, I asked D to “Please close the showers.”
“Huh?” he replied.
“Close the cushions,” I said and quickly realized that still wasn’t right.
“… the CURTAINS! I meant ‘Please close the curtains!”

Another day, I told someone in my house that “I’m going to run to the lock…. the STOCK… AAHHH, THE STORE!”

In the past few months… there was the aforementioned boiling water incident as well as the time I forgot to return my fifth grader’s Chromebook despite the four reminder emails we had received AND the calendar reminder I had created. I ordered art supplies that I needed for a project… twice. I sent a text message to the wrong person at least three times.

The list goes on and on. I keep swapping words or forgetting why I’m holding the spatula or walking up the stairs. I admit, I was a little worried at first. But then I started mentioning these incidents to people and most people had the same response… “OMG, ME TOO.”

And that’s when I realized… it’s Quarantine Brain.

Our brains are suffering from any number of the following:

      • Anxiety
      • Sleep-deprivation
      • Phantom Covid symptoms
      • Real Covid symptoms
      • Paper towel withdrawal
      • Boredom
      • Lack of intellectual stimulation
      • Lack of social stimulation
      • Too much whining by our housemates
      • Horrific news stories

While at first, I was 1000% sure that I was struggling with early onset dementia, I’m a bit relieved to discover that it is just Quarantine Brain, which turns out may be as widespread as the virus itself.

I got that far into writing that post and then I promptly stopped and forgot about the whole thing, proving that MY HYPOTHESIS WAS 100% ACCURATE – Quarantine Brain was REAL.

Now that we’ve moved out of total quarantine into Phase II or Phase III or whatever stupid phase of this hell we’re in, my Quarantine Brain symptoms have started to dissipate a bit. But I find that they’ve been replaced with something else. A little something I’ve decided to call Covid Rage.

Screen Shot 2020-07-22 at 12.07.50 PM

Covid Rage is a disorder in which every once in a while (meaning twice a day or so), I start to boil with anger and scream something like, “I’M SO EFFING SICK OF THIS!! WHEN WILL IT ALL BE OVER??” (I scream out loud or just quietly to the people around me, depending on my location at the time. I find they frown upon adult temper tantrums at the Little League field.) 

Once again, I’ve been talking about this affliction with others and once again, I’ve found that I’m not alone. Covid Rage is real and widespread.

Here are just a few of the things we’re all pissed off about right now…

  • School re-opening
  • School not re-opening
  • School opening a little bit.
  • Why is the decision about re-opening schools taking so long?
  • DON’T RUSH THIS DECISION… there is SO MUCH to consider!
  • Are we thinking about the teachers??
  • My office is reopening but schools are not.
  • Wear a mask. How are you not wearing a mask?
  • But, also maskne.
  • Why are the people I live with so annoying?
  • I’m sick of cooking.
  • I’m sick of takeout.
  • I’m sick of thinking about food.
  • Why does eating even have to be a thing?
  • Why aren’t we listening to scientists and medical professionals?
  • What happened to the CDC?
  • Why are there secret police in Portland?
  • It’s really, really hot.
  • Are you kidding me with RBG having cancer?
  • Fuck cancer.
  • Kanye.
  • Kids, I just don’t know if you can go to that birthday party/camp/beach gathering/lacrosse tournament. I JUST DON’T KNOW.
  • Should we go away?
  • Which states are safe?
  • Should we fly/drive/stay in a hotel/pee in a disposable bag?
  • My West Wing binge-watch has come to an end.

(OK, maybe that last one was just me, but I’ve heard similar dismay from people finishing their own binges of Schitt’s Creek and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel so I know I’m not alone.)

There’s just so much to feel mad about right now. Our earlier frustration and confusion are morphing into exasperation and anger.

There are still too many questions and we are hitting the wall.

Quarantine Brain has evolved into Corona Rage which will hopefully subside faster than the virus itself. Then we can move onto the next stage, which I’m optimistic will be something like Post Covid Zen or Calmdemic. (Sorry.)

Screen Shot 2020-07-22 at 10.20.05 AM

Please, put on your damn masks and let’s end this thing.


PS. To avoid ending on a Covid Rage rant, here are a few pictures of some “normal” things happening around here.

D baseball

C Tennis

G strawberry-picking

G & T painting

7 responses »

  1. As I walk the boardwalk every AM at 6 (having awakened at 4 AM)I have to restrain myself from correcting the very few other walkers…you are one the wrong side, no dogs allowed, where’s your mask? If I get mugged it will be do to Covid Rage.

  2. Kris,

    The vaccine is coming….really!! BTW, there aren’t any secret police in Portland; there are UNIFORMED federal agents in Portland because the loonies out there (and in many other places) think that burning down the city hall and the federal building is a terrific – and acceptable – way to express their frustrations that poverty and racism exist in the country. Instead, I timidly suggest that they donate their time (and dollars, if possible) to their local food bank, to scholarships for children of low income families, to raising or donating money to the first responders and frontline health workers who are risking their lives every day.

    I love you, but you’re not always right.


  3. Great post, Kris!!!!! I have both quarantine brain and covid rage!! Simultaneously!!! So sometimes I am super pissed off and then can’t remember why. Seriously, though, enough of all this, I am so over it. But as always, you captured it all, so well done.

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