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Opinion: Letting go of the facade I am totally fine

 'I CAN’T KEEP DOING THIS. IT IS TOO HARD!' I screamed.
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Whew. I had made it to Friday evening.

Sure, there had been the usual few hateful messages from readers about COVID-19 coverage that have greeted journalists throughout the pandemic.

And it had been a busy week with us short-staffed like every other business due to Omicron.

Sure, I felt tired and achy from my booster shot, but that was expected.

I genuinely love my job and felt grateful for the day’s interviews with a couple of insightful locals.

I was fine.

As a reward for making it through another pandemic week, I headed to Random to see if I could get a “new” shirt or jeans.

On the way, I dropped my mask in the snow.

There are worse things, I thought, upon entering the shop with my wet mask touching my lips as I breathed.

Twenty minutes later, leaving the store with pants two sizes bigger than I would have needed two years ago, I thought: “It is fine. Extra pounds aren’t the worst thing to come out of a pandemic with.”

I checked my phone for updates on how a good friend and a relative were coping with their bouts of COVID-19.

They were isolated at home and would be fine, I told myself.

Once home, I kicked off my snowy boots and glanced at the half-painted walls that we thought would be an excellent pandemic project several months ago.  

We will finally finish this weekend, I thought.

My partner greeted me with a hug.

Everything really was OK.

After some small talk about our day he said:  “Hey honey, you could have helped me a bit more with the dog today.”

I wish I could say I know what happened in my brain when he said this, but all I know is I snapped.

 “I CAN’T KEEP DOING THIS. IT IS TOO HARD!” I screamed.

He looked from the startled and bewildered dog to me.

“Huh?”  

I suddenly let go of the tears I had held for two years.

Everything was not fine.

My bet is everything is not fine with you either.

A just-published Angus Reid Institute study showed that 36% of surveyed Canadians are struggling with their mental health.

I can easily acknowledge I have several layers of privilege that make my experience of the pandemic much easier than that of many, including that I have worked throughout and have stable housing and no school-aged kids at home.

And yet, I feel burned out at times now.

To rate if you are burned out, Vancouver Coastal Health says to ask yourself if you feel the following:

• emotionally exhausted?

• physically drained?

• tired all the time?

• irritable?

• anxious?

• angry with the demands of others?

• withdrawing from activities you once enjoyed?

• isolating yourself from other people?

• difficult to concentrate?

• difficult to get a good night’s sleep?

• forgetful?

This has been a tough two years no matter who you are or how big the watercraft is you are navigating this storm with —  be it log, canoe, boat or yacht.

We all know what we need to do to make ourselves feel better — time outside, connecting with loved ones, sleep — and I did those that weekend.

But feeling better started with letting go of the “everything is fine” facade.

I vowed to be more honest with myself and my partner — who is navigating the storm in his own way — about how I’m feeling.

And I promised to maybe help out more with the dog.

For now, that is the best I can do.

And I bet you are doing the best you can too, as we navigate what is hopefully the last of this storm.