By Shannon Lelievre
Shannon Lelievre

I’ve been living in a near constant state of anxiety for the last two years, so I’m not feeling any real change with recent events. I’m still trying to get a divorce. I’m still waiting for a hysterectomy. And I’m still raising my kids and feeling worried for my students and friends.

My car accident in November shook my little world like a snow globe but it shook calm and peace into me. Everything slowed down when that truck hit me and the world went quiet. I wasn’t worried or upset except when I called my mother to ask her to let my boss know I wouldn’t make it to work that morning. I knew the first responders had everything in hand and once the CT scan indicated no significant brain damage, I felt like everything would work itself out.

For an anxiety-fueled recovering perfectionist this behaviour scared me. I didn’t recognize my mindset in this situation at all. Maybe I did suffer brain damage? I have had 3 concussions previously so it’s not unreasonable to think so. I’m sitting here at home in the midst of this coronavirus chaos and I’m not freaking out. I’m thinking maybe taking an airbag to the head activated some untapped area of grey matter.

My sleep is a little disturbed but that’s probably more due to the effects of my 6 year old who narrates his entire day, than the global sense of uncertainty. I’ve been going hard core on the self help books and podcasts lately so I’ve been more philosophical than usual but hasn’t life always been uncertain? The difference is now it’s totally in our faces.

Waking up tomorrow has never been a guarantee. Yet living like there’s no tomorrow is exhausting and unsustainable. I’m annoyed my favourite trail is closed and that I can’t go to a movie when I feel like it, but I’m waking up to so much more than I used to.

I’ve seen more acts of kindness than of greed. I’ve seen people embrace their creative sides and take the opportunity to get outside for a change. Friends are checking in on each other and we’re encouraging each other to truly take care of ourselves.

I wanted a rest from the chaos that was going on around me and here it is. I don’t know what life is going to look like in two weeks or two months, but I do know I’ll still be loving my friends and family and I’ll still believe in the same values I hold dear. I know I’ll keep exercising and trying to eat healthy and pay attention to my anxiety and depression. I’ll still sing along to my favourite songs and I might try Bollywood dancing tomorrow via YouTube so maybe I’ll be dancing, too.

I’ve realized that these changes we’re facing don’t have to change us. I don’t need to panic and you don’t either: your kids still need you and you still love your favourite person. There are books and music and fresh air and reasons to be grateful we woke up. I’m not feeling pressured to write a book or create something amazing while isolated, and I have no intentions of setting up home school for my kids, either. I’m treating this time as an opportunity to recharge and refocus and my goal is to wake up each morning and get through the day the best I can.