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Columnist opens up regarding last opinion piece

To the editor,

I write for therapy and it isn’t often that things written from painful places are published. My last submission was a rare exception and it was not without great trepidation that I submitted it. It came from a place of pain and anger coursed through my words. I want to follow up with this note for readers.

Many of my words in the previous edition could be misconstrued to think that I am advocating an abandonment of all COVID prevention measures. That could not be further from the truth.  Simple things like wearing a mask when we are out and about and washing our hands regularly are so easy to do and mitigate the majority of opportunity for virus transmission. On a larger scale, it is sound policy to continue holding off on mass gatherings like concerts and professional sporting events because the elevated risk of large-scale intermingling of communities isn’t worth it.

But at an individual level, I feel very strongly that our leaders need to stop making us fearful and tell people that it is OK to be human again.

I feel strongly because I am biased. I am biased because my depression has returned. My depression returned after my carefully-built support system was rocked by multiple blows over the past few months, some COVID related, some not. Today I am one of many who are fighting a battle that is made infinitely harder when you are cut off from what makes you feel human.

Just like COVID, mental illness doesn’t kill many, yet it is common to suffer from long-term recurring symptoms. Unlike COVID, there are millions of Canadians battling mental illness right now. We deserve better from Public Health officials at every level going forward.

And that is why I submitted the piece.

Stewart Skinner

North Perth