(Adobe stock image)

(Adobe stock image)

Reporter’s View: COVID-19 is stealing away my spoons

Since the pandemic began, 40 per cent of Canadians have experienced a decline in their mental health.

This number is staggering. Perhaps unexpected, but staggering nonetheless. This means that of the 10 people you normally socialize with, four may have experienced worsening anxiety or depression, fears around feeding their family, domestic violence or their health.

What does this look like in real life? Mental health is such a multifaceted topic that it’s impossible to speak to everyone’s experiences. All I can speak to is my own, and I’d certainly count myself among that 4 in 10.

Struggling to get out of bed this morning, I reminded myself of Christine Miserandino’s spoon theory. Attempting to explain what living with Lupus was like to her college friend, Miserandino handed her a handful of spoons. She then asked her friend to list all the tasks she would accomplish on a given day, even the most mundane like brushing her teeth or getting to the office. As her friend went through her proverbial day, Miserando began removing spoons.

The point was this: When you experience chronic pain or mental health challenges, you simply don’t have enough spoons – units of energy, essentially – to start off with, or tasks take more spoons for you than they would for others.

Pre-COVID-19, I would classify myself as a productive person – if you don’t count hours-long Netflix binges – my days were full from the moment I woke up to the time my head hit the pillow. The simple to dos of personal care, feeding myself and paperwork always seemed to get done without a conscious thought, leaving room for the more important life stuff like studies or relationships.

Yet after months and months of isolation and uncertainty, even the simplest of tasks can some days feel monumental. My capacity to do, at home and at work, is drastically diminished. I simply have far fewer spoons when I wake up each day, thanks to this pandemic.

At first this came with a lot of shame and questioning of my own self-worth. If I couldn’t be the productive, sharp and engaged journalist I always had been, who the heck was I anyways?

And living in North America, where ‘do’ is the operative word, doesn’t help much. Our culture worships the to do list. Even our standard “What did you get up to this weekend?” exposes our need to constantly do and accomplish. Most of us certainly don’t engage in, let alone understand, the Italian art of doing nothing – Il Dolce Far Niente.

But what I realized is this – the pandemic has taken its toll, it’s silly to pretend otherwise. This is my reality right now and that is OK. It’s OK not to be the person I was before 10 months of mental, emotional and financial hardship.

So while I, and maybe you too, might not have the same amount of spoons you had when we were unexpectedly thrust into this mess, this does not mean that you are unworthy. Get up, with however many spoons you have, and do your very best, without judgment and with love, with those spoons.

Note: If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please do not keep this to yourself. Reach out to someone you trust, to your doctor or to people on the phone – 310-6789 for mental health support or 1-800-784-2433 for concerns around suicide.

Emelie Peacock is the Hope Standard’s reporter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Those who walk by the welcome figure often touch hands with it. (Screenshot/Jessica Poirier)
‘A presence in the school’: The story behind Hope Secondary’s welcome figure

After a year’s worth of delays due to COVID, the welcome figure… Continue reading

Former Merritt Centennial and current Chilliwack Chief Jackson Munro (left) evades Merritt’s Chase Cook during a weekend BCHL game at the Chilliwack Coliseum. (Darren Francis photo)
Goalies lead Chilliwack Chiefs to pair of wins in weekend BCHL action

Mathieu Caron picked up a shutout Friday and Jakob Gullmes earned his first BCHL victory Sunday

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. He made the call during a speech in Vancouver on April 10, 2021, in a rally for a parent embroiled in legal battles surrounding his child’s transition.
Chilliwack school trustee calls for B.C.’s minister of education to resign

Barry Neufeld spoke at rally for jailed father in Vancouver, calling SOGI 123 a ‘dangerous experiment’

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read