‘Right Now Feels So Long and Without Any End in Sight’

As the reality of an indefinite psychological marathon descended, many journal writers began to count their blessings, in entries tinged with both gratitude and fear.

“There have been a lot of losses in the last months, including transportation on public buses, bike riding as the bike trail is washed-out, the library is closed. … When I hear this could go on for another year, I feel despair. But I’m taking it one day at a time and am grateful that I can pay my bills, have a roof over my head, and so far have figured out how to get food.” — Retired woman in her 70s, from Michigan.

In their preliminary analysis, Dr. Mason and Dr. Willen found that expressions of guilt, privilege and gratitude emerge early in the epidemic, and appear in about one-third of the 530 English-language contributors overall. Ten of these diarists devoted most of their entries to giving thanks — for what they have, and for seeing what they had taken for granted.

“Some of this is white liberal guilt, feeling bad about doing OK when so many are not,” Dr. Mason said. “But we have a lot