I think I’m having a reaction to Phase 3. I might just be having a reaction to what appears to be happening in Phase 2 and therefore I am applying it to Phase 3 but I’m definitely having some kind of a reaction.
Our area, relative to the rest of the world, has seen little infection. My region at the beginning of Phase 3, had nobody in hospital and only a dozen or less, active cases. Our death total was seven. We have managed to maintain a safe bubble through Phase 2 and have been able to isolate any new cases and contain them through the second Phase. We are ready to give the next level a shot.
For us, Phase 3 includes the lifting of the 14-day quarantine for all of Western Canada. From the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean. The neighbour still has to stay in his yard, but for Western Canadians, they are free to move about the region without restriction. Capacity restrictions and safety protocols are in place for all areas and business. If you can figure out how to put your people back to work safely in Western Canada, you can do it. Phase 3 began a week ago.
At first, I started to notice the increase in traffic on the Trans-Canada highway. More cars and RV’s, inter-mingled with the hero-trucks that had remained steady throughout the pandemic. By mid-week, the frequency of out-of-province license plates had increased, and by Friday there were more vehicles pulling campers, than trucks pulling freight. The bubble was showing its size.
I felt my anxiety level rise right from the start of Phase 3. My sense of paranoia has been jacked-up threefold. Seeing license plates from other areas is common for me, and the campers are always a seasonal hazard. Last year I wouldn’t have even noticed. Now I give them a wider birth! While I’m driving on the Trans-Canada!! We’re separated by two-tonnes of steel and glass!! Each travelling at 100kph!! I’ve become COVID Stupid!!!
I know expanding the bubble is the right thing to do, and I feel now is as good a time as any. Even with the news showing me other parts of Canada and The US and their struggles with Phase 2, I think Western Canada is ready.
Western Canada as a whole has done a solid job of containing and treating COVID-19. Our geography has played a key role, we are spread out over an area larger than Europe. We have only 3 cities that have a population greater than a million people. Six feet of separation is not our problem. For the large part, the population of Western Canada did their best to listen to what the health officials and government were saying, and paid some heed. As a result, we managed to keep the flu in check and reduce its spread. It’s still out there, but we have the tools and information we need to aid us in staying clear of it. All we have to do, is act accordingly.
I know, easier said than done. It is the reason for the increased anxiety I am feeling. I’ve been watching the evolution of the ‘new norm’ and I know my initial bubble was getting the hang of it, but I’m not so sure about these new guys from the other bubbles. They are causing me a certain amount of concern. It is not that I see any great amount of disregard in their behavior, they seem to have been receiving the same guidance, and are behaving accordingly. But I know that in amongst these travelers there are bound to be quite a few Covidiots. We had them in our small bubble, so no doubt every other bubble out there had them too and now they’re on the loose.
It stands to reason that I should feel a small amount of anxiety over these new changes. I would be a Covidiot myself, if I didn’t. Knowing that the virus is still out there, I’m sure is causing many of us some kind of stress. Adjusting to this stress increase, and eventually mitigating it, will take me some time. I am confident that my logical brain, will be able to calm my emotional brain well enough to continue my life. I will try not be frozen in fear, but keep my head-down, breathe, and try to stay calm.
Stress, worry, anxiety and depression are playing an active role in the current ‘human condition’. They are not some psychosomatic reaction that is manifested only in a dream. These are real conditions, and should not be ignored nor trivialized. Recognizing that you are having feelings is always the first step towards dealing with them. We will all need to make adjustments and we will all need to deal with the feelings these adjustments cause, yes even the anger. Take a breath every once in a while. Have a cry if you need to. Don’t ignore what you feel inside, recognize it, acknowledge it, and sometimes that is all it takes to get passed it. If you find that you cannot deal with your anxiety alone, try reaching out to others. There is help available, and there is no stigmatism attached to seeking help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to make yourself better. We are all feeling the changes.
In the mean time, carry on Western Canadians, we have earned the right to move about with caution in our new bubble. Please be mindful and patient of others who are still adapting, and may have not yet conquered their feelings about Phase 3. Not everyone is in the same comfort zone you are, whichever zone that is. So, don’t freak-out when someone asks you to step back, or scream at someone who invades your space. We’re Canadians for crying out loud… remain calm and be polite! We’ve got this far by respecting each other, and there is no good reason we will not make this work safely. Western Canada has the opportunity to show others a safe path to norm. I hope we make ourselves proud.