Anyone who has spent time in a cabin on an isolated mountain lake knows it's an unforgettable experience. Not for everyone perhaps but being that deeply immersed in nature is like entering an entirely different world.
Self-isolation in the midst of pandemic shares little in common with that mountain retreat. It's more akin to house arrest. It is an obligation, not your idea of a good time. It carries burdens - uncertainty about the future of your loved ones, your friends, of course yourself, what awaits when the pandemic finally leaves in six or twelve or eighteen months. You can't come and go as you wish. You can't do what you wish. An outing is when you foray out, once every week or two, to replenish the pantry with staples, produce and other perishables.
Circumstances vary. Some do it alone, true isolation akin to solitary confinement. Some go through it with a loved one. Others share it with a family unit. Each brings its own stresses.
An Angus Reid survey finds that half of Canadian respondents report some deterioration in their mental health due to the pandemic. Ten per cent report "a lot" of mental deterioration.
New data paint a picture of a nation whose optimism and resilience has been literally depressed by the events of the last month-and-a-half.
Half of Canadians (50%) report a worsening of their mental health, with one-in-ten (10% overall) saying it has worsened “a lot”.
Asked to describe how they have been primarily feeling in recent weeks, Canadians are most likely to say they’re worried, (44%), anxious (41%) and bored (30%), although fully one-third (34%) also say they are “grateful”.
The combination of deteriorating mental health and ongoing financial troubles at the household level creates a portrait of how the nation is faring through the crisis.
Canadians fall into four main categories as part of the Angus Reid Institute’s COVID-19 Impact Index: those who are Managing Well mentally and financially, those who are Mentally Struggling, or Financially Struggling, and those who are Hardest Hit, feeling the effects of both factors worse than anyone else.The full report is available here.
Who knows how we'll cope in the months ahead. I think it's quite possible we will become inured to these impositions, perhaps less fearful, possibly even a bit more resilient as we learn we can and will survive this virus and its impacts. We will come around just as other populations have done in even more dangerous, more stressful and more uncertain times in the past.
The good news from the Angus Reid report - three-quarters of respondents no matter in which group they fall believe it is too soon to lift restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.