By Dauna Ditson

[email protected]

How are you doing in this strange time?

I hope you’re well and that you’ve adapted and are happily baking pies, finishing puzzles, reading books and having plenty of calls and video chats with your loved ones. But it’s okay if you’re not living up the introvert dream right now.

It’s okay if you’re scared or sad or anxious. It’s okay if you’re lonely or if you’re finding yourself annoyed with your live-in loved ones and needing some space. It’s okay to feel however you feel during this uncertain time.

I used to have a mental illness (post-traumatic stress disorder), and whenever I asked my therapist if I was being crazy, she would say that I was having a normal response to an abnormal thing that had happened.

It’s normal to be upset when distressing things happen, and it’s completely reasonable to be shaken when a global pandemic changes all of our lives, cancels our plans and locks our doors with us inside.

You don’t have to try to convince yourself that the pandemic is a happy story. You’re not doing something wrong if you don’t see it that way. But you can dislike this temporary new reality and still make the best of it.

As an extrovert who lives alone, who now works from home, and whose family is two provinces away, I don’t love this time of self-isolation and physical distancing. I miss real-life humans.

Still, some parts are great – like all the video calling and how my little nephew thinks I’m a movie. I’m going for jogs thanks to online motivation from the Columbia Valley Runners, doing long-delayed projects and participating in an online meditation group.

I’m now around the age my parents were when the real estate market in Calgary crashed in the 1980s. We lost our house, my dad lost his job and we spent an entire year homeless and rotating between my grandparents’ basements in Medicine Hat, Alberta and Kindersley, Saskatchewan. My mom was instantly a homeschool teacher. My parents were under no illusions about how bad things were, but none of their worries seeped through to me.

All my memories from the year I was seven are filled with sisters and cousins, swimming lessons, grandparents, library visits, cookies, sewing lessons, playgrounds and love. Everything was fun. Even leaving our things in storage was exciting because my mom promised it would be like Christmas when we got to open our boxes of toys up again. She was right.

If my family’s unfortunate situation could have a bright side, maybe the pandemic doesn’t have to be 100 per cent bad either. I read something that said young kids and dogs could be having the best times of their lives right now since they have so much of your attention.

Maybe you’ll find some good throughout it as well. Take care of yourself and each other.