Below is the full, unedited text of a story written by a mother describing the experiences of her young son during the Covid era. Please contact Covid Stories Archive if you would like to use or reproduce this essay, in whole or in part, for your research or writing. Also, please consider sharing your own stories for preservation in our archive.
Life is like a plate of spaghetti, you move one noodle and inevitably another one moves too often in an unpredictable manner. You always hope that you get more positive movement than you get negative, sadly as is the case with the global response to the COVID pandemic there was far too much negative movement and even worse when the negative movement was noted, the response didn’t stop it doubled down.
My story is intertwined with the story of my children, I have watched the damage done to the mental health of my children, shielding them best as I could but the global response was relentless. The mental and emotional damage is there, in some cases limited because of the work of my husband and myself to shield and counteract the insane messaging, but it should never have happened. We all see the damage play out in the news, and even locally in our schools as it manifests itself in poor disciple, anti-social behaviors, and poor emotional regulation.
I have watched my child (age 7 at the start of this) go from a vibrant creative child that was ready to put his security blanket away to one that holds it dear for the next two years. That child no longer enjoys going to school, he is anxious anytime he gets the sniffles and is constantly afraid of germs. The message from the school and media is that you have to be on the lookout because COVID is going to get you. That extended heightened sense of fear prevents you from enjoying and living life, you are constantly searching for the thing that “will get you”. It drives adrenaline waves and crashes and that really does a number on you physically which then does a number on you mentally, and the cycle continues and spirals downward.
Our low was Christmas of 2021 when I got COVID, honestly, I was cranky and congested and we as a family previously would have never batted an eye at my symptoms and simply stayed home. Sadly because of that stupid test, it had a name, and my child was afraid I was going to die. But it got worse when my child had a fever the next day, again nothing that would have previously caused concern, I gave him some ibuprofen and a Popsicle and to look at him 2 hours later you would never know he was sick. But then my child asked me if he was going to die, and for that, I will never forgive the Public Health messaging and our policy response.
As a parent, I have done as much as I can to counteract the insanity of governmental policies, and I believe that my husband and I have managed to largely avoid a downward spiral, but it has been hard fought and if I were to graph it is still a downward trajectory, and thankfully around March when masks came off in our school district things were plateauing, and we are clawing our way back up.
I am very grateful that I know my child’s teacher and she has known my child since daycare where she previously worked because she has been able to help me see that my efforts are paying off. She knew my child pre-COVID she became his teacher during COVID (in Feb 2022 she came in as a long-term sub to cover maternity leave) and she could see the toll the policies had taken. Recently she has shared the changes for the better she sees in my child, he is showing fewer signs of anxiety (and the other students are too) and he is more social and open now.
School will be out for the summer in a few weeks and I will continue my work with my children to bolster their mental and emotional health. This experience was only the experience with one of my children. The other child had a vastly different experience, as I said those noodles move in an unpredictable manner, and our stories are intertwined.
My child wrote to the school committee telling them that masks are bad, and I read it at one of the meetings.
One day I tell my other child’s story, and quite possibly my own.
Please consider sharing your own stories
for preservation in our archive.