COLUMN: The importance of treating yourself gently

‘Six months into this pandemic and I am starting to struggle. I am starting to be weary’

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

When the majority of the world greeted 2020 10 months ago it was with much optimism.

We were entering a new decade full of hope…unfortunately that hope was short-lived. Word of the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores by the end of January, and by the middle of March the world was paralyzed with a lockdown.

Six months later, and while the lockdowns have mainly lifted, the world is still far from where it was.

The risk of the illness is still ever present, and the wearing of masks has become a new normal.

Thanks to the constant stress of the pandemic, even those without a predisposition to anxiety or depression have begun to suffer from the effects of those illnesses. For those who’ve already struggled with mental illness, the extra challenges of the pandemic have not made things any easier.

I managed to ride out the opening phases of the pandemic fairly well, thanks to positive supports in my life.

My anxiety and stress didn’t really seem to increase during the beginning of the trying times, but more like the stress level of everyone else in the world increased to match mine.

Six months into things and it started to change.

The fall season is never my best time of year, and 2020 is no exception. I carry many ghosts from this time of year in my past life as a first responder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder still lingers, loosening its grip on me but never quite completely letting go.

Six months into this pandemic and I am starting to struggle. I am starting to be weary.

It’s neither flaw nor weakness causing me to feel this way. It just is. It doesn’t matter how I feel, what matters is what I do about it. That’s all any of us can control.

So, what does that mean for me?

It means I’m going to be extra gentle with myself.

It means I’m going to seek out my supports in the community. It means I’m going to allow myself time for rest and recovery.

We are dealing with events unprecedented in our times, which are bound to cause stress to anyone.

Treat yourself gently and know that just like any other major events in our past, we will get through this.

If you are struggling with your mental health, contact 811 or the provincial mental health hotline at (877)303-2642, or in an emergency dial 911.

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