Over the course of the last 18 months my son Zach endured months of isolation at both at his apartment in Montreal where he was trying to finish his undergraduate degree then in Toronto while waiting for a flight to Australia.
He’d suffered long and hard with his anxiety and depression well before the pandemic, but as you can imagine this compounded his issues immeasurably…
I can’t imagine trying to survive in a city where you’re terrified to leave your apartment, even for food and essentials. Surviving on a single meal a day and literally wasting away had been his fate as he endeavoured to get through the final term.
To say he was at the end of his tether is a complete understatement…
When he arrived here into Brisbane he was completely done in….exhausted both physically and emotionally from the trauma he’d experienced.
The change I’ve witnessed over this past month has been little short of a miracle. ❤️
Now eating three meals a day, with extra vitamins he’s slowly been regaining his strength and putting on some weight. In the past two weeks he’s also started to work out and walk every day.
I think the thing he finds most restorative is his freedom to go anywhere and feel safe. Fortunately for us Queensland they’ve done a great job of minimizing the impact of the pandemic. Sure, there have been setbacks and mask mandates, but with few cases in the community its brought a feeling of normality which has been a blessing for him in particular.
Not to mention the endless sunshine and perfect temperatures!
Also, in the last two week’s I’ve been introducing day trips into the equation. First was a morning walk along the beach on Bribie Island. Although not far from home it was a great hike along the beach with very few people.
It also was my first tentative step for getting him back into nature and out of the confines of a single room.
The following week we hiked in the Springbrook National Park along the 14.5 km long Warrie Circuit. This was interesting unto itself as Zach had never experienced a rainforest setting before.
He was a little tentative at first but I encouraged him to lead the way along the track through the rainforest. This was a completely new environment. Listening the birds in canopy high above us and the hearing the sounds of rushing waterfalls soon put his mind at rest.
By the end of the hike, he had begun to feel much more at home in the forest and a lot less fearful.
Ultimately, helping him rebuild his confidence has been at the forefront of my thinking.
Yesterday we both took an online yoga class, starting off with a 30 min Vinyasa class proved to be a great starting point for him as he wants to begin incorporating yoga into his daily and weekly routine.
He’s also said that he’d be interested in learning to meditate.
All these combined have begun to have a real impact on his mental health which is awesome. ❤️
His overall health is the most important thing he can focus on right now, and I’m only too happy to jump in and support him where I can.
I can’t do it for him, but I can provide a healthy and supportive environment. Time will tell I suppose, but from what I’ve seen so far, he is both receptive and primed to take on the challenge.
I know Zach isn’t alone as we all are feeling shell shocked with regards to the past couple of years and the impact the pandemic has placed upon us all, and indeed civilization.
Each segment of society has suffered in ways that perhaps won’t become evident for some time, but I worry most about the long-term impact it will have on our kids. From what I can see it’s placed a seed of doubt in their minds as to their future…
I suppose our immediate frame of reference will be as a “before and after” type situation.
Remember “before” when we could travel the world freely, borders were open and we didn’t have to wear masks or be afraid of coming too close to another person…ah, the good old days!
I’m hoping that those days are also still in front of us, but realistically it’s years away…
It looks at though we’re going to be living with the hangover of the pandemic including the anxiety and depression that’s it’s triggered as well as the associated health issues for some time to come.
Personally, for selfish reasons I just want the borders open so that my daughter Sam can join us here in Australia. ❤️
However, given that she’s still at university with three more years to go of her five year program it could be a while. Video calls just don’t do it for me, and although a reasonable alternative there is nothing like a real hug.
I’m so glad he’s here with me and making such great personal progress. 🙌🏼
Until next week!