It North America, we’re a year into living with Covid and the restrictions in place to contain it. The Social restrictions and the personal restrictions placed on us have been a challenge for everybody. The fear of life after-Covid is in the air now that vaccine rollout has begun. We’re all ready to be sprung from our personal bubbles and to go out into what’s left of the world.
I see and hear a lot of pain and fear messaging from everywhere I am, whether it’s a zoom call with colleagues and friends or those rare outings for medical reasons. Every time I go out right now I feel like I’m a wild animal- what are the rules again?
However, for me, this isn’t my first socially frightening rodeo. Years ago, in my early 20s I have spent over a year in the hospital (not metaphorically, I spent well over 12 months in the General Hospital here in Ottawa) and I remember feeling exactly the same when leaving it. Like I lost a piece of myself, maybe to never regain it again, but the world carried on. That hurt me, knowing I’m so lost in my own community even though everything looked the same. I went through trauma that stays with me like a boulder on my shoulders. I’ve learned to live with it and even sometimes I can shuffle it in a way that I can find joy in some moments.
I think that this is what the Pandemic did to most of us. It created a fear not felt in generations to rise in us, and with it a global trauma. I’m immuno-compromised, I am one of the vulnerable so I’ve been very strict in following the self-protective measures and have stayed home. I’ve had rough weeks where it seemed that everything and anything on the internet was triggering. I’ve even got into a couple of arguments with random people on the internet (readers, this is shocking news!) because I never before did that.
But this year I also found my voice again and I can assure you it’s a confident voice. A voice that will not let the important conversations be de-railed by those who are loud with fear.
The conversations seem to often latch onto the topic of restrictive measures. This is not where I’m going though. I don’t think we need to talk more about restrictive measures and the effects they have on children and adults. This a distraction from the real issue at hand, that our elected governments don’t care enough about us to create equitable care measures to go along with the restrictive measures. Our most vulnerable are being cast aside as though their human value is not for our concern. Women and BIPOC and the disabled are de-valued, people on the front lines are being taken for granted and here we are listening to the very politicians we elected say they have no power to change anything.
People seem to be confused, discombobulated, distracted. It is as if we are frozen in time, repeating the same day, doing the same things, seeing the same things, waiting for something we aren’t exactly sure what.
There is a lot of pain due to hardship but also painful introspection, realizations of how the world is and “feeling disconnected. It is a global phenomenon, yet people aren’t coming together from the shared experience almost like they are rejecting it, maybe each person’s experience is too different to relate. Maybe we don’t want to relate and so we end up antagonizing each other.” (B. Robson)
We do need to have a mental health care plan for everyone, we need to come together (but not in the same roof, yet) and get the elected officials create a plan for us, the people in their care. They have the resources, we just need the confidence to expect and demand.
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