Union Station Weekly; April 9, 2021; Volume 7, Issue 2

Stepping Safely Into the Community

For many, being secluded on and off for over a year has caused many people to gain weight due to boredom and inactivity. In the course of the winter, I have gained a lot of weight which has made doing simple things like going shopping become difficult. When spring broke, I received the COVID-19 vaccine and am safely stepping back in to the community. After the Immunity from the vaccine takes effect, I plan on doing several things similar to what I did pre-pandemic while following all government mandates until lifted. It
will be nice to return to some source of normalcy again if I can do that. Yes, the way we do things for some time will be different and some of the larger events will not be permitted to happen as of yet, but we will get there within time. When we get there, we will have something to write about in the history
books.

Putting it into Persepctive

Writing this on Easter Sunday because I am bored really puts things into perspective how fortunate I am. We are over a year into the pandemic, when work and the Clubhouse shut their doors for almost three months. While some of the activity during that initial time was completed virtually and I along with the majority of the world was introduced to virtual platforms like Zoom, nothing replaces the old-fashioned way of meeting person to person in
methods such as day programs and part-time employment like I do.

Today is a day like Easter, when most places have ceased operation by encouraging time for self-care or spending it with our family, if possible. More so as the pandemic proceeds as time goes by. It becomes increasingly taxing on those that are in the essential services, especially the caring and medical professions. Their goal as they provide care to those they serve is to give hope that there is a future in sight. While there is a goal to reach herd immunity by
the vaccine, it won’t take away the trying times that those in the caring profession go through. I , as one who not only has a parttime position in the field, can see how taxing it is becoming for them to this point. They reach burnout that they sometimes have to change careers or take a sabbatical from employment, like teachers are doing for example. These professionals’ energy can sometimes rub off onto those they serve and can feel that energy
at times.

I can feed off this energy to the point I want to give it all up and just lay in bed all day. But what would that do for my mental health? It would make it worse. 15 years ago, I graduated technical school in a residential setting and had no choice but to move back in with my parents as I was 20 at the time. Being there day in and day out was a challenge. My parents live in a location that is a long walk from anywhere interesting and while my grandparents were alive at the time and I did spend some time with them. It did not fulfill my need to be entertained. The personalities of my parents and I didn’t mix too well. It was later determined that I needed to return to the Clubhouse that I entered out of High School and am still at today. In those almost 15 years, I obtained supported employment, went to and graduated community college (with honors) and had two independent living experiences, the second one
much better because I learned from the first one.

Why do I still stick with it and my part-time job? Well, as I experienced today, I was bored out of my mind and all I did was move back and forth between the bedroom, living room and kitchen. Thankfully, I didn’t eat over my calorie limit. I did go with my mom to the supercenter and to my grandparent’s grave. But, if I didn’t have something to do all the time, it would tear away at my mental
health recovery gradually. I know this isn’t the end of the road for me, but it is where I am right now, and that’s ok. It’s what I need to have a fulfilling life and be well, along with other elements of my mental health recovery.

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