Quarantine Diaries | Canada : Finding The Light

Guest post by Carson from Carson’s Creatives

Hello readers of Capture Sunshine! My name is Carson Bohdi and I am a blogger, writer, vlogger, singer, and overall creative human being! When I saw Sakshi’s tweet about wanting to do a series surrounding the pandemic from different points of view, I was so excited at the prospect that I immediately responded!

Before we get into the ways in which COVID-19 have affected my life, why don’t I give you all some background on me?! I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I started my blog, Carson’s Creatives, in March 2016 to conquer my fears of others reading my work. I was so anxious at the time I did not show my face! Fast forward four years, and I have now posted more than 200 posts online and on the blog – and I revealed my face in this Youtube video last August!

Throughout my life I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. In 2018, those issues overtook my entire life to the point I had to get help or I was going to die. Somehow through all of this, I was able to continue posting content to my blog and Youtube channel. Now, with all that in mind, let’s discuss my experience with this pandemic thus far.

In terms of how my country is handling this pandemic, it varies from province to province. In my province, Ontario, as of May 12th we have been seeing a decrease in cases and are planning a three-step reopening process for the economy.

My anxiety has increased as I’ve seen more and more people on the subway to work, avoiding the social distancing guidelines in order to sit down on their commute. As an essential worker who relies on public transit it is terrifying. We need to be more aware of the consequences and not try to rush reopening. If you are a fellow Canadian reading this and you can work from home, please do. If not, I understand and thank you for your bravery and determination.

The last two years I’d spent a majority of my time taking care of my mental health, so my plan for 2020 was to get a job and to start living my life again. I did get a job, and was laid off days before the news hit that the World Health Organisation declared this outbreak a pandemic. I was only a little bit disappointed about being laid off, until I realised I was going to have to enter quarantine.

Now, this is something I have not shared with my audience. Only my mother and my therapist are aware of this. In mid March of this year, I started abusing alcohol again. This is not something I am proud of, but if one person can relate to what I’ve been through and if someone can find some inspiration, in any way, then putting my demons out there is so worth it.

My mindset when I relapsed was that my whole year was ruined. I felt trapped in a situation I was unable to change. Having autonomy with where I go and stay was taken away from me, and I thought I lost all my progress.

Fun fact – a setback does not negate all the hard work you have done in anything – and especially in healing.

These feelings of entrapment and despair were not helped by the fact I did not qualify for any of the financial aid programs offered by the Canadian government, like the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which offers $2,000 per month from March to July to those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

So what did I do?

I started applying for essential jobs. I knew that the only way I’d be able to not be so stuck was to get out of my home, and if working does that, I would do anything! So I prayed. I asked The Universe to give me strength. I promised that if I got a job, I’d sober up.

On April 1st, I was offered a job – and for a moment I believed it was an April Fools prank. It wasn’t. As I type this out, on June 3rd, I am 63 days sober. I am working almost every day in the mornings and spending every afternoon working hard on my goals and creating content for my blog and Youtube channel.

“According to a recent Nanos Poll commissioned by the [Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction], since the pandemic began 25 percent of respondents between the age of 35 and 54 say they have started drinking more.”

But this is a problem that spans beyond Canada. People are relying on substances to cope during this crisis and I understand why.

If you take away anything from this post, it’s this – using alcohol to cope is not worth it. It’s nothing more than a band aide.

A drink or a joint will not fix anything in the long term scheme. Alcohol is a depressant, and will seriously hurt you if you are not careful. If you drink here and there that is 100% fine but do not get sucked into a toxic pattern.

And if you, like me, struggle with alcohol, I won’t pretend it’s easy because for me it’s been super hard. I get urges. I get anxious. Some days all I think about is wanting to drink. But I chose to focus on my work, my faith, and my overall health, and now I can say whole-heartedly that I am doing okay.

Check in with people you trust, and if anyone you know is struggling, there are resources such as hotlines and online counselling that are a quick google search away. Here are a two links to international mental health services, for those who may need it.

For more information, please visit: World Federation for Mental Health and there are many virtual therapy services, here is one of them: Better Help

You are not alone in this.

About the author

Carson is a Canadian blogger and vlogger who speaks on mental health, LGTBQ issues, writing, poetry, prose, music, and overall advice. You can check out her blog at Carson’s Creatives and can also find her on Youtube, Instagram and Twitter!

Quarantine Diaries is a blog series where bloggers from different countries share their quarantine stories to narrate their experiences and remind us that we all are in it together.

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