The second wave of the ECQ is here and it’s triggering past trauma that can drown us once again in feelings of helplessness and fear.
When the virus first hit the country, I was a senior college student living in a small studio unit with my three best friends. Naturally, when the hearsay regarding a lockdown started to go around, everyone immediately packed up their bags and headed home – well everyone except for me that is. I wasn’t exactly in the best state even before the lockdown, my family was struggling financially and living in a 2-bedroom condo unit that didn’t have enough space for well-grown adults. I was also a part-time working student with a 10 – 7 job.
By the time the pandemic came into the picture, I couldn’t possibly head home. The pressure started to weigh in because similar to many, work is a means of survival. I knew that eventually we had to report back physically for our shifts, and I couldn’t place my family in danger with the possibility of bringing the virus back home. So I decided to stay and live through the heights of the pandemic alone in my college dorm.
Employment pressure felt heavier than ever, companies were suffering and cost-cutting was inevitable. I worked in a fairly competitive retail job where the performance evaluation is based upon the number of sales that one can generate day-to-day. Being only a part-timer compared to my other tenured colleagues, there was constant pressure to come up with the numbers. Day in and out, I would try my best to balance selling with sensitivity but during an ongoing pandemic, no one was in the mood to spend thousands on bags and shoes when we’re all stuck at home and fighting for our lives.
Some days were consumed with indifference towards everyone and anything. Our condo unit was always filled with laughter, music, and some of our best college memories happened right in this small space we once called home. However, as time passed on, I remember the white walls starting to turn grey and nights spent alone were louder with unwanted thoughts. I missed my friends, my family, and most of all the feeling of waking up to a better tomorrow.
Despite it all, I was grateful for the roof over my head that protected me from the virus and the supplies that kept me alive. Now, I’m far from where I was when the lockdown first started. I’m back with my family in a proper house with a new job that gives me the privilege to work from home. But the reality is, more than half of our community continue to have it worse and another ECQ means having to relive the trauma – the trauma of losing a job, a home, and even a loved one.
It seems like it was just yesterday, we were able to reunite with our family again and at most shake hands with our dear friends and colleagues – the next we’re being told to stay in our houses masked up for weeks on end. We’re all feeling trapped in a life we no longer have control of and as we go through a second wave of ECQ, the experience of reliving past traumas in lockdown will be unique to every individual but it’s all equally real.