As some of you know, I’m currently on leave from work. I am meant to be in Bali on a personal healing journey and soul sabbatical. Instead, my days have been chaotic, stressful, challenging to say the least.
I know I’m not alone in this. So many of us have had plans, dreams and hopes cancelled, disrupted, changed, put on hold indefinitely…
There will be few people, if any, whose lives are untouched by this pandemic.
Collectively we are experiencing various degrees of grief and loss.
We are mourning:
– The loss of our freedom
– The loss of our autonomy and independence
– The loss of our safety and security
– The loss of jobs and financial security
– The loss of our normal routine and lifestyle
– The loss of the coping strategies that help to keep us stable and mentally well
– The loss of physical touch and contact with our loved ones
– The loss of our hopes and dreams and anticipated future
– The loss of any sense of certainty and predictability in our daily lives, and so much more…
There are 5 stages of grief according to the Kübler-Ross model and during this time they may present something like this:
1. Denial: shock, avoidance, resistance. “This is over the top; it’s not that big of a deal; it’ll blow over in a couple of weeks”
2. Anger: annoyance, irritation, frustration. “This is ridiculous. “X [insert politician] should be doing… why can’t they be like Y ffs?!”
3. Bargaining: trade-offs, trying to find meaning, inner negotiation. “It’s for the best, it’s uncomfortable but a small sacrifice for the good of all people. If we do this now, then it will be over sooner rather than later”
4. Depression: hopelessness, helplessness, apathy, defeat. “This is never going to end. I’ll never get another job, there’s too much competition now. My industry will never recover” I’m all alone, no one cares about me other than my cat”. There no point even getting out of bed”
5. Acceptance: hopefulness, exploring new options, contemplation of new plans and new ways of living and coping. “This is what we have to work with right now and we don’t know when this will change, so how can we adjust?”
Grieving, just like everything else in life is not a linear process. We move and flow in and out of these stages in no particular order, sometimes multiple times, or we may skip some stages completely. And some of us may not reach the stage of acceptance. Which is okay.
However it happens is okay.
And whatever you are doing to get yourself through this is okay.
If you’re binge watching Netflix, that’s okay 👌🏼
If you’re sleeping more than usual, that’s okay 👌🏼
If you’re eating more than usual, that’s okay 👌🏼
If you’re irritable more than usual, that’s okay 👌🏼
If you’re more anxious about germs and your health than usual, that’s okay 👌🏼
If you’re actively looking for the silver linings, that’s okay 👌🏼
If you’re motivated and good to go, that’s okay too 👌🏼
However you are showing up right now is okay 👌🏼
However your loved ones are showing up right now is okay too 👌🏼
Please be kind to each other. No one can see what is going on underneath the surface or behind closed doors.
Please be gentle with yourselves. The whole world has been turned upside down by this pandemic and it’s okay to not be okay.
Now is not the time for putting on a brave face; if ever there was a time for putting your hand up and saying “I need some help please” it’s now.
You don’t have to do this alone.
Reach out to someone you trust if you need to (or even if you want to, rather than waiting until it’s a need).