Kitchener-Waterloo

Coronavirus has left some people scared to go outside

The COVID-19 pandemic has left some people scared to go outside even as more areas of the province move into the second stage of reopening after months of lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.

Continued uncertainty is ‘causing a lot of anxiety,’ psychotherapist Thomas Brown says

Thomas Brown, a social worker and psychotherapist with Kitchener-based Qualia Counselling Service, says continued uncertainty about COVID-19 is causing a lot of anxiety for many people. (John Moore / Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has left some people scared to go outside even as more areas of the province move into the second stage of reopening after months of partial lockdown.

Thomas Brown, a social worker and psychotherapist with Kitchener-based Qualia Counselling Service, says continued uncertainty about COVID-19 is causing significant anxiety for many people. 

"I've actually heard from a lot of people that, although going into quarantine was very challenging, it was actually easier than coming out," Brown told CBC News. 

Brown said a disconnect between expectations of reopening and reality may add to anxiety. Although the province has loosened some restrictions, it isn't safe yet to start hugging friends and socializing with those outside of one's social circle

"So there's kind of a conflict there around our expectations and how things are actually playing out for us, so conflict and maybe some confusion and that continued uncertainty is what's going on for us and that's causing a lot of anxiety," added Brown. 

Thomas Brown is a social worker and psychotherapist with Kitchener-based Qualia Counselling Service. (Submitted by Thomas Brown)

For more than a dozen weeks, beginning in March, Canadians have been sheltering against the invisible, yet dangerous threat. 

Across Canada, governments began to ease social restrictions in May, but many people are still worried about catching the disease. 

For those living with a mental illness, such as anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, staying home may have been the easy part. It's venturing outside that will likely cause more of a challenge, he said.  

"The risk is always in my mind ... if we stay isolated for so long, it can be harder for us to re-engage with 'normal life,'" he said. 

On Wednesday the provincial government tabled a motion in the legislature to extend the province's state of emergency to July 15.

If the state of emergency does expire on July 15, the province will still have the power to enforce emergency measures such as limitations on gatherings and bans on large events. However, those restrictions can only be extended, not amended or altered. 

On Thursday Canada's total number of confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 climbed to above 100,000.

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