The race between variants and vaccines:

We’re well over a year into the Covid-19 pandemic and it seems like it’s turned into a race between the aggressive new variants and the available vaccines.

Despite the roll-out of three different types of vaccines, the variants have been taking hold, making up at least half of all new cases in Ontario. The number of infections is topping 2000 on a daily basis and there are more ICU beds occupied right now than at any other time in the pandemic.

It’s obvious what this means in terms of the physical health of Ontarians, but we should also be keeping…

Are we opening up when we should be closing down?

This is a strange and contradictory time in the course of the pandemic. On the one hand, restrictions are being lifted in Ontario; on the other hand, the number of cases is steadily rising and all signs point to an even more lethal third wave.

Despite the dire warnings by doctors and public health officials, the provincial government is planning to increase the number of people who can gather together and they’ll be opening up small businesses like hair and manicure salons by mid-April.

A lot of people are already booking their haircuts and mani-pedis, thinking that if the government…

A shocking “After the Final Rose:”

Anyone who is a fan of the Bachelor franchise and who watched After the Final Rose on Monday, March 15th had the opportunity to witness a very different scenario than the usual light and airy Bachelor fare.

Watching both Rachel K. and Matt J. speaking to the excellent guest host, Emmanuel Acho, you couldn’t help but notice the waves of emotional devastation emanating from the once-happy couple.

Rachel couldn’t stop crying as she shot furtive glances over at her former beloved, and Matt — almost never at a loss for words — was often utterly speechless. …

Covid’s one-year anniversary:

It’s the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic. In mid-March 2020, the entire world was locked down for the first wave, and since then, the pain, loss and stress have been unimaginable. As a result, mental health everywhere is at an all-time low.

Here in Ontario, people have lost their jobs, their businesses and their homes. They’ve lost loved ones and they themselves have been sick, with many continuing to have lingering symptoms, leaving them chronically unwell and stressed to the max.

Drug and alcohol abuse are at an all-time high, as people attempt to cope with the stress in…

Maskual harassment:

I just learned about a new form of sexual assault that’s been happening lately. It’s called “maskual harassment,” and I’ve got to say, it fills me with all sorts of feelings — none of them positive.

This type of harassment happens when a male restaurant diner, after he’s finished his meal, says to his female server something along the lines of “show me what’s under the mask if you want your tip.” If the server refuses to show him her face, the customer skimps on the tip.

Fascination with what’s underneath:

This is problematic in so many ways that I had to write about…

Why people can’t just “move on” from trauma:

Lately, we’ve been hearing people in positions of influence tell the victims of the riot at the US Capitol that they should just “move on” from the experience.

We’re also hearing people tell those who’ve recently been discharged from having been hospitalized for Covid to do the same, seeing as how they’ve recovered physically from the disease. The phrase, “move on,” is problematic, however, and it’s packed with meaning — meaning that I’m going to unpack.

I feel uniquely qualified to write about trauma because in my psychiatry practice, I’ve been diagnosing and treating people who suffer from trauma for…

The pandemic has changed the way we date:

It’s safe to say that the pandemic has changed almost everything about our lives, and dating is no exception. In honour of Valentine’s Day 2021, I thought it would be interesting to talk about all the ways dating has changed over the past year in lock-down.

When I think about it, dating hasn’t been changed this dramatically since 1960, when the birth control pill came on the market and revolutionized the way couples came together.

Isolation has been a major aspect of the pandemic and with it, people are rethinking how they want to interact with one-another. Many of us…

Toxic narcissism is on everyone’s minds these days:

The concept of toxic narcissism is on a lot of peoples’ minds these days, whether we’re seeing it in politics, in our families, or in fictional stories onscreen, and that’s why I was so interested to see an example of it on this season of the Bachelor, exemplified by one of the contestants, a woman who calls herself “Queen Victoria.”

Just the fact that she presented herself from the start as a “queen,” and came out of the limo wearing a crown, was an indication that here might be a person with some serious narcissism. …

Covid’s silver lining:

Covid-19 has been devastating for many. Whether from the loss of health, of loved ones, of jobs and businesses, of homes, or of finances, people have been suffering tremendously. We can’t underestimate the toll the pandemic has taken on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Still, in some ways, there’s a silver lining to the pandemic. It’s nothing I could have expected, but a year into lockdown, it’s something that I’m appreciating very much.

For some people, the isolation, all the free time, and the vast amount of quiet have created remarkable opportunities for growth, learning and creativity. …

Is the pandemic revealing our dark side?

I was talking to a radio host the other day. His name is Drew Remenda, and he’s on 650 CKOM out of Saskatchewan. Drew asked me was whether I thought that the pandemic is turning us all into more negative, uncaring people, or if it’s just revealing the darkness lurking deep in our souls.

I told him that I think it’s neither. In my mind, what’s really going on is that the pandemic is showing us how a lot of people just don’t have the tools for coping with a major, life-changing stress.

Covid has challenged us in ways that…

Marcia Sirota

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series

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