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Covid-19 - Are you feeling fine one minute and then crying the next?

 

“Look, look!”, my son called out enthusiastically one morning. 

We were in the backyard and he saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering around our orange tree.

He was so excited, like a toddler normally is when they see something interesting or new.

I turned to look and exclaimed, “Isn’t it beautiful?”

But he wasn’t satisfied with that response, and he continued, “Look, look!”.


Thinking he wanted more enthusiasm, I repeated “Wow, it’s beautiful!”.

But he continued, repeating: “Look, look!!”.

Then I realised what he needed me to say: “It’s a butterfly!

What my son needed, was for me to name this beautiful creature.

This need for us to name things…to understand things, allows us to understand ourselves and others.

It helps us create meaning in our lives.

Are you feeling fine one minute and then overwhelmed and crying the next?

Are you able to name what you may be feeling right now?

Naming this feeling can help you to understand why you may be struggling at times through your day. 


Your world and the world has dramatically changed and there’s a huge sense of loss that comes from these changes.

Here are some of the things you’re not doing anymore:

  • Having dinner with your family and friends
  • Seeing your work colleagues
  • Going to the gym
  • Shaking hands when you meet someone
  • Hugging your family and friends
  • Seeing your mum and dad
  • Your normal routine
  • Gathering to worship
  • Celebrate birthdays or anniversaries in person
  • Getting an income (if you’ve lost your job)
  • Physical touch and connection; and
  • Getting your take-away coffee! 

As a mum, you may also be feeling the loss of support you’ve had up until now…parental help, sending your child to day-care or school, or maybe you’ve stopped getting a cleaner or a babysitter.


Take a moment to think about or write down the things that you no longer do or have…the things you’re feeling a sense of loss about.


You might not have been able to name it, but the loss you are feeling is a sense of grief. 


David Kessler
, is an expert and lecturer on death and grieving. Brené Brown recently interviewed David on her new podcast, Unlocking Us, about this sense of grief you and many of us are feeling during this pandemic.


David says that you can feel grief, even if no one you know has died.

 

He defines grief as: 'The death of something'.

It could be the death of a: 

- Loved one

- Marriage (divorce)

- Relationship (break-up);

- Job-loss

  

“We are all dealing with the collective loss of the world we knew”

David Kessler

Now that you know what that discomfort you’re feeling is, allow yourself to grieve.

Give yourself permission to grieve the world you knew.


Do you know what might stand in the way of allowing yourself to grieve?

Comparison-itis. Comparing your loss to others. 

You might be thinking:

  • I have my health, I’m lucky
  • I have my job, I feel financially secure
  • I have a backyard, at least I don’t live in an apartment and I can still go outside
  • I shouldn’t feel sad – other people have it worse. 


I’ve definitely stepped into gratitude and thought, “We are lucky. What about the elderly who are living alone and have no one to look after them?”.

I imagine you’ve thought about others less fortunate and felt empathy.


I’m curious if you’ve found yourself feeling irritated by your children because they’re complaining about not seeing their friends, going to school or football training, or seeing their grandparents and you responded with something like:

“Seriously, it’s not that bad that you have to stay home – you’ll be fine, but we need to think about someone who’s at higher risk of getting Corona!”

Ahem…words to that effect definitely came out of my mouth recently! 


However, after listening to David Kessler’s podcast interview it has given me a new perspective on this: 

“Maybe for your children, not seeing their friends is their worst loss”.

“The worst loss is always your loss”  

David Kessler

 

David says it’s about perspective, and you – with all your life experiences – can understand the bigger perspective and that everything will be ok.

But for your children, with their limited experience of the world, it can seem like their world has ended. Day-care, pre-school, school, sport and their activities are all they know.

Let your child feel what they’re feeling.

Give them permission to feel disappointed and upset.

Empathise with them.

 

Brené Brown says that when you create empathy for yourself, you’re able to be more empathetic towards others - like all the medical doctors, nurses and essential service workers on the front line of this pandemic.

Brené says:

- “Complaining is OK.”

- “Letting yourself feel these hard emotions is important and mandatory to be empathic people.”

- “Hurt is hurt. Every time we honour our own struggles and the struggles of others by responding with empathy, the healing that results affects all of us.”


Even though you have this awareness of how your child may be feeling, you are still allowed to be human.

It’s OK to lose your cool when they ask for their 10th snack before 11 o’clock!

Now and again, imagine being in their shoes.

In a similar way that airplane travel was forever changed after 9-11, Covid-19 will forever change the future for all of us.

For now, allow yourself to feel that loss, knowing it’s not forever, and that you and your family will move through this.

 

Marija

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