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Three years ago this weekend, I was packing for a trip of a lifetime that never happened. If you had told me that days later I would pull the plug, hours before departure, I would have laughed at your pessimism. If you had told me that soon thereafter we would be washing our groceries and only seeing people on something called Zoom, I would have given you one of those looks that says: Come on.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization proclaimed COVID-19 a global pandemic. The U.S. suspended travel from Europe. Things rippled. The NBA paused its season, then the NHL. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced that they had it; they were quarantining in Australia. My inbox was filling up with notices of cancelled events.

A few days earlier, most of us we were blithely living our lives.

What were you doing three years ago, during Canada’s last normal weekend?

Could you have imagined that we would still be dealing with this – or a version of it – on the second weekend of March, 2023?

Three years later, we are emerging, bruised and battle-scarred from the hell of lockdowns and losses. Loved ones died – often alone. The nursing home situation was catastrophic. Some people still struggle with long COVID. Families were fractured and friendships ended over polarized views about vaccines, even masks.

Big life events were cancelled – weddings, proms, parties. Kids missed out on going to school, hanging with friends. Daycare providers and elementary teachers, so important to the little ones, suddenly disappeared from their lives.

And yet apparently the kids, and the rest of us, are all right – for the most part.

On Wednesday, what’s being called the world’s most comprehensive study on pandemic mental health was published in the British Medical Journal. The team reviewed data from 137 studies around the world, and what they found was a story of mental resilience, not collapse – which was surprising, even to them.

“Among general population studies, we did not find changes in general mental health or anxiety symptoms, and the worsening of depression symptoms was minimal,” reports the team, led by McGill University.

The study did find that women experienced a disproportionately negative impact, but even that was by small amounts.

The results might be surprising to many others too, including educators and people dealing with student mental health. Or anyone still trying to find a therapist taking new patients. Or anyone who works in a health care setting, or worked in one, until they couldn’t take it any more. Or anyone who lost their business, their job. Their marriage.

A beloved family member or friend.

Or any parent who had to figure out online classes for their children while trying to do their own job from a different bedroom, keeping an always-occupied house from descending into complete disorder – and cooking every single meal.

For many of us, our mental health did not exactly thrive under these conditions. And some had the added stress of dealing with hate. On Tuesday, British Columbia’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner issued a report thick with examples of hate incidents during the pandemic. The anti-Asian sentiment, in particular, was palpable and personal. “We need to deport all of you people back,” one half-Japanese man was told, while he was waiting in line at a pharmacy.

According to the study, antisemitic incidents also skyrocketed in B.C., with conspiracy theories and “inappropriate and highly offensive” appropriation of Holocaust symbols and terminology. As a Jewish person, I can’t say that did wonders for my mental health.

Sure, it’s not like we had to go to war. Many of us alive today did not have to confront serious physical hardships. We figured it out.

Life is returning to its new normal. I’m back at my office part-time; maybe you are too. My schedule is packed again; invitations are rolling in. I’m helping a friend plan a big dance party. And that trip of a lifetime – we just rebooked it.

I actually told a friend this week that there were things I missed about that time: Not being overscheduled, not rushing home from work in a panic trying to figure out dinner, spending nearly 24/7 with my kid and cat.

As much as I love seeing people again – colleagues, friends, flight attendants – I can feel the stress of this kind of life returning to my body.

Is this the point when we’re going to experience a mental health breakdown?

The data involved in this study mostly stop at the end of 2020. The authors will keep monitoring and adding to their findings. It will be good to see what happened next, because I’m not sure this is over yet.