So there we were, six months into a pandemic, trying to pretend the world was getting back to “normal” in spite of COVID numbers slowly creeping back up in the wrong direction, a race war brewing, backlash against militarized and violent policing growing, an American election fiasco in the making, questionable political decisions on our own side of the border…
No, wait. Not “were”. ARE. Here we *ARE*.
Today in Ontario, many schools reopened their doors to returning students without a clear plan on how to manage classrooms under pandemic conditions. Parents, teachers, and school staff alike have been dreading this moment since things closed down in March; next to actual lockdown adjustment crises, that’s been the second or third most common issues walking into my (virtual) office for the last month or so. Even for those of us without kids but with an excellent understanding of science basics, there’s a sense of a timer ticking, and this year it’s not just about the surge of the usual colds and health issues that come from children playing together as children do. It’s all the OTHER infection vectors that are now in play.
And yes, we’re concerned. We’re concerned about how best to continue to support our clients and our communities while keeping ourselves, our colleagues and office staff, our offices, and yes, our clients and everyone to whom YOU are connected, as safe as we can. We’re still being advised by our governing colleges to avoid returning to in-person sessions for the foreseeable future, so virtual meetings continue. Six months into things, we’re still not back to normal operations, nor will we be any time soon.
Our clients continue to be graciously understanding for the most part, but they’re as frustrated as we are. We’re still helping folkx navigate a world where jobs are still disappearing as businesses falter, where pandemic/lockdown fatigue and social distancing remain considerable barriers to mental health, where “Zoom fatigue” and the normalization of working from home creates a whole new set of challenges to work/life balance routines. We’re trying to figure out how best to help our seasonally-affected clients prepare for the autumn and winter in the absence of most of their normal social options. And we’re trying our best to make sure we as therapists don’t succumb to this tidal bore ourselves.
All of which to say, six months on, we’re still here, still working, still doing our best to support where we can, validate and commiserate where we can, change what we can, offer what hope and perspective we can… And we know that some days, many days even, will be harder than others. We can’t make any of this go any faster, we can’t predict what life will look like in The After, and we don’t always know what will make it easier to get from Here to There either. But we’re in the mud with everyone else, and we get it.
Stay strong, stay safe. As the cliché says, especially at this point, “The only way out is THROUGH.”