Mental health patients are getting lost in the COVID-19 shuffle, writes Vanessa Dueck

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Eight years ago, almost to the day, I was flooded with well wishes for my first Mother’s Day. At 26 weeks pregnant, all of the cheerful greetings were making me unbearably anxious, as I thought of my impending baby shower and how I was going to break the news that I would be unable to attend.

I was about to enter a residential eating disorder treatment at St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver, in the hope of saving my own life and preserving the life of my unborn child. It was the best Mother’s Day I could have given myself, and him, as I stayed on the path of health and healing for seven and a half years following this treatment.

Three children later, this Mother’s Day — this pandemic mothers day, is feeling painful. The isolation that COVID-19 has brought upon us all has also catapulted me back into old behaviours, and the recovery I worked so hard to achieve and preserve has crumbled. I have that old familiar Mother’s Day anxiety from that fateful Mother’s Day eight years ago when I entered into treatment and am fearful that the same fate will befall me once more.

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I am back in treatment, held on Microsoft teams with a group of strangers with their videos off. We are all just dots of recovery drifting in cyberspace — very much alone. I look back on my time at St. Paul’s unbelievably grateful for the power of in person support during recovery.

While I spend this Mother’s Day with the beautiful family that I am now with almost 24 hours a day, the only gift I’m hoping for is healing.

Vanessa Dueck, Milpitas, Calif.

Re: Eyes roll as stressed Liberal staffers offered free yoga class led by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

Seems like we just got over the WE fiasco In Ottawa, and now Sophie Trudeau wants to introduce and lead a ME virtual yoga workout to ease the stress of the Liberal Party staff.

Are the front line COVID-19 medical workers not more deserving of such an idea? Who comforts and holds the hand of a dying patient day after day? Is this not a higher level of stress than the prime minister’s office staff experiences?

Let’s get our priorities straight and not get caught up in an idea for Mental Health Week that is not timely for those toiling in medicine.

We cannot survive without all these brave professionals who put their lives on the line for us every day.

All they yearn for is rest. May their wish soon be granted!

Ruth Enns, Vancouver


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