The truth is written all over the faces of everyone we meet, either virtually or in real life. Lockdown 2.0 is much more mentally exhausting, and the country's nerves are collectively frayed. Uncertainty is the real challenge for us all right now, according to three mental health experts who all report a surge in demand for their services.
"If we were told that on December 4, 2021, Covid will be gone, we would find all of this much easier to deal with. But because it's a moving target, that makes it so much harder," explains Enda Murphy, a cognitive behavioural therapist based in Co Louth.
"Everyone wants certainty. But Nphet and the Government keep telling us there is no certainty. People are looking for definitives that are impossible to find. The reality is, we've no control over any of this.
"When someone goes to jail, they can knuckle down because they at least know when they are getting out. But we don't know when this will end for us."
The novelty of the first lockdown, and the enforced changes to how we live our lives, has well and truly worn off.
"It is true that the first lockdown was easier for us to deal with. It came suddenly and was a shock. But we all came together collectively. We pulled together. At that stage, we thought it would be for just a short period of time and there was end in sight. But that's not what happened," says Dr Miriam Kennedy of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland and Consultant Psychiatrist in General Adult/Old Age Psychiatry with Highfield Healthcare.
"We don't know how Christmas will be, or what will happen next year. And this uncertainty right now is very stressful. People were able to find a lot more positives during the first lockdown. The weather made a big difference to a lot of people. This is a stressful time for us all, but it really puts a lot more pressure on people already struggling."
Dr Kennedy, who also works with older people as part of the HSE's 'Psychiatry of Later Life' team, says the number of people in distress seeking medical help is increasing by the day.
"There's been a big increase in outpatient and inpatient referrals. We are seeing some very different presentations. We're seeing plenty of people presenting with first-time psychosis episodes. For older people in particular, the isolation is leading to an increase in paranoia. Older people are often dealing with other physical problems, so Covid is an extra cause of anxiety. A lot of so-called fake news about Covid doesn't help the situation. Fear drives stress."
If you are predisposed to mental illness, or have had problems in the past, this is also a particularly difficult time.
"There have been a lot of relapses. People who were discharged and doing well. But a lot of their recovery plans were based around social interaction, and a lot of that is gone," explains Dr Kennedy. "Being alone and isolated, it exacerbates all of our problems. Our 'new normal' really should not involve a third lockdown in my view. Or if there is, there really needs to be a look at extending people's support bubbles in a safe way. Anxiety is really crippling people at the moment."
When we emerged from the first lockdown in early summer, the future seemed bright.
"With the first lockdown, we were initially told it would be two, then four, six weeks and so on. When we did come out of it, it was the beginning of summer. People were feeling positive, booking staycations," recalls Dr Damien Lowry, a psychologist at Dublin's Mater Hospital and in private practice.
"Life seemed to be going back to normal. Then, slowly, we ended up back in a place where life shut down again. This was a distinct blow to our ability to cope and see light at the end of the tunnel."
Dr Lowry, also a chartered member of the Psychological Society of Ireland, says waiting lists for those in distress has increased at his practice.
"Our mettle is really being tested this time around. The hard data shows an increase in distress this year compared with last year. Covid is featuring in the majority of presentations in some way, shape or form."
Regardless of your age or gender, Covid has turned all of our lives upside down, he continues. Younger adults have been forced to put much of their lives on hold, leaving them frustrated and bored. Meanwhile, parents and middle-aged people are stressed out about childcare as well as their elderly parents, many of whom feel isolated and are fearful of getting sick.
Discussing our mental health is on the agenda at least, the experts agree, but there is also a lot of misinformation out there.
"There is a lot of talk on social media, saying that Covid has led to an epidemic in suicides. But there is nothing to suggest that this is the case. It is very unhelpful for people in distress to be hearing this also," explains Dr Lowry.
"There has been a marked decline in suicides in Ireland over the past five years. People really need to focus on positivity in their lives. And it is very important to limit the amount of attention you give to Covid. Ideally, 15 minutes a day. But, of course, that's not necessarily possible."
Apathy and disillusionment have also crept in. Weren't we promised that if we made sacrifices in March, life would be back to normal by now?
"People are starting to realise that we will be dealing with Covid all of next year as well and maybe longer. A lot of people are just fed up, and that's understandable," adds Murphy, who has written a number of books on mental health.
"The world is supposed to follow order. In a way, everything has gone to hell in a handbasket. Right now, we have to adapt to this and accept we can't change our circumstances. What we all need to do is live in the now. The first rule of flying is to simply keep the plane in the air, this can be applied to our lives right now. We all need to find a way to manage our stress. If you let panic or anxiety set in, you will start catastrophising."
Now more than ever, we all need an outlet to keep ourselves mentally fit.
"We all need coping behaviours. A distracting, immersive activity in your routine - be it knitting, gardening, running, meditating, whatever works. Something in your life that you can lose yourself in, something that requires your full attention," explains Dr Lowry. "We are at a juncture. Life can seem bleak, it's winter and it's flu season. Maintaining social connections at this time is just so important as well."
Focusing on the positives, too, is a must, he adds.
"Suddenly, there is light on the horizon with the new vaccines. Remember, this is a time-limited event. It's looking increasingly likely that Covid will become a thing of history."