Adding Myself to the Priority List
Story collected by Will McGuirk, website: slowcity.ca
With a child with underlying health conditions and her own health issue, Krista MacNeil, Clinical Director at the Victim Services of Durham Region, worried she or her family would quickly fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe.
“My youngest daughter has health issues that usually land her in hospital four to five times per year so the pandemic has created additional anxiety in terms of risk to her. We have likely been more isolated than most at times because of wanting to protect her. Luckily, she has remained healthy.
“I found solace in my friends and colleagues who also worked on the frontlines because they seemed like the only ones who truly understood the fears we were facing. When conversing with anyone outside of that reality, I felt more frustration when questions were asked like ‘is it really that bad?’
“As the only full-time social worker in the ER at the time, colleagues would often come to me for support. So naturally, during the pandemic colleagues and friends also confided in and relied on me. This had both positive and negative consequences in terms of feeling validation for mutual frustrations but also never seeming to get a break from the fear and anxiety that was so prevalent in everyone around me.”
“My parents and in laws reside in Newfoundland and my children have not seen their grand-parents in almost two years. While some people lost the ability to travel and take vacations during the pandemic, I also lost my ability to see my family.”
“As a natural helper in both my personal and professional life I am often the go-to person for friends, family and colleagues who need support. But when almost everyone around me was struggling at the same time it became a necessity to also prioritize my own health and well-being and to let go of things that did not support that. Things I did for myself previously when it was ‘convenient’ I now treat as a priority even when it isn’t convenient. Being disconnected from my hometown, cultural events and family has made me want to visit home more when we do have the chance again. It took a pandemic, but I’ve finally added myself to the list of priorities.”