In March 2020, I started a new chapter in my life. I was hired as a Peer Support Specialist at The P.E.E.R. Center. This was so new to me. I started my orientation which was a week long. By my last day of orientation, the center had to close because the city of Columbus was shutting down because of COVID. This took me for a loop. My next steps were to start working on the Warmline. I became overwhelmed and scared because this was something new to me. That was the start to how COVID was affecting my life. I had a good number of tools in my toolbox to use to cope. One of my obstacles was not being able to hug people. That was one thing people knew about me. When you see April, you will get a hug. I struggled because that is one of my ways of showing people I cared. I had to express how I care in a different way. I decided to start calling people and sending out cards. That helped but I still miss giving hugs. Dealing with COVID hasn’t been easy for me. I had to find different ways to cope. I found writing, cooking and baking helpful but I needed more. I found myself reaching out to new people or people I hadn’t talked to in a while. I learned to enjoy talking with other people. I learned about their life story and perceptions of what was happening. I still have my days of depression and anxiety. I’m thankful that I’m still able to have weekly talks with my counselor. I choose to be honest about how I’m feeling because I know what can happen if I don’t address my issues. I have a good support system, but I know that they are not always available. So, I lean on my faith and prayer. I have learned not one thing is going to help during this time so I had to try new things.
April B.
Peer Support Specialist
The P.E.E.R. Center