I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Pandemic Fatigue The Bigger Challenge Now
A Third Lockdown For One Area Amplifies Sensitivities, Pandemic Fatigue
Pandemic fatigue, as defined by Wikipedia, is "the state of being worn out by recommended precautions and restrictions relating to a pandemic, often due to the length of the restrictions and lack of activities for one to engage in, resulting in boredom, depression, and other issues, thereby leading one to abandoning these precautions and risk catching the disease."
So the area in Ontario, Canada in which I live is about to head into a third lockdown. While everyone hopes that this lockdown, like the two that preceded it, is brief, the more important thing is that many of us are at the point now where we are wondering what the freakin' point of it all is. Why lockdown again, just two short weeks after restrictions were lifted from the six-week lockdown before it?
Some have posited that the reason for this current lockdown that will commence March 1, 2021, is to hopefully bring the numbers of cases with the COVID-19 variants under control. The region in which I live was essentially a Ground Zero of sorts for the UK variant, and 71 residents of a long-term care facility that housed 129 residents died likely as a result of said variant. There are several areas in my region where various variants of concern have cropped up, so I understand the fact that there is a lot of concern about these variants and they need to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.
It makes sense that people would want to choke this virus out where it stands, but the problem is now, people are completely fed up and emotionally drained from the entire process that has been COVID-19 right from the start. There are thousands in Ontario alone that have died because of this stupid, deadly virus, and there is nothing that will make the loss of those lives better for the affected families. Now, though, there are an increasing number of individuals that are struggling with their mental health because of the virus, and there is a mental health crisis that exists, right now, that lockdowns are only making worse.
So, as of 12:01 am on March 1, 2021, the region I live in will be on lockdown. Gyms, dojos, hair salons, and all of that will be closed for the time being. Ski hills, ice rinks, and snow trails can open with restrictions, but of course, not everyone engages in those sorts of sports. While retail stores - and mercifully, smaller retailers - can open at reduced capacity, the very idea of a lockdown happening yet again is a significant blow to the psyche.
Kids of all ages are struggling hard between having done school online for the last several weeks and making the adjustment to a "regular" classroom again. High school students are in the same classroom for four hours a day for a week at a time, and then switching to a different course for the following week. Several schools are basically keeping these same kids inside their classrooms including for the scheduled break time, as schools are trying to avoid having hundreds of kids in the hall at any given time. They can leave at lunch, but that's pretty much the only suggested time. It's a schedule that does not work well for many teens, just as for a number of students who are working exclusively online still it is not an ideal situation.
At this point, with lockdown #3 about to start, everyone is at the point of feeling like they would sooner get hit in the face with a shovel before having to be locked down yet again. The last year has been hard on all of us, and while my family has been fortunate because I've been able to continue teaching from home whenever we've been locked down, that doesn't mean it's been easy from an emotional standpoint.
My kids, like so many others, haven't even really had the option of having a sense of freedom in where they choose to gather. The number of people they can gather with is strictly controlled by the government, and things that most kids have taken pleasure in have been stomped out for the last year - no sleepovers, no sports at school and sporting events that look very different than they used to - are pretty much gone. From a mental health viewpoint, they're fried, and I don't blame them.
I'm angry at this point. So are a lot of people. We've seen people from other grey (lockdown) zones come to our area while we've been in the red, and it infuriates me that such individuals would think this is all right in the midst of a global pandemic. It's a very cavalier attitude to take, and while I do understand this has gone on long enough, putting other areas at risk of moving into lockdown territory is like punishing an entire class for the actions of one or two kids.
Ontario has a significant problem on its hands, and it's going to get worse, not better, with the attitude the government is taking when it comes to lockdown. People have had enough of restrictions that don't always make sense, and they are frustrated that what the government seems to be doing is always about 12 paces behind where it should be. Speed up the vaccination schedule so we can get out of this nightmare, and start pushing more funding towards mental health initiatives because there are people of all ages in Ontario that are not OK right now.