As we move into the heart of summer 2021, more than a billion people have been vaccinated worldwide and there are good reasons to believe that the worst of covid is behind us. So why are so many of us feeling anxious and unsettled when it seems like we should be ready to celebrate?
It’s easy to understand feeling genuinely relieved to have survived covid. But this other stuff? It feels out of place. This grief we’re feeling isn’t obviously attached to one big loss. It’s more like opening the lint trap on our emotional filter and finding it full.
Have you noticed that as soon as you start feeling relieved that covid is on the wane, some concerned voice inside you wonders whether it will be back?
As you’re backing and forthing between those two thoughts, it’s easy to trip into feelings of sadness over the loss of the “normal life” that covid took from you. Then it’s a short hop to feeling the losses of whomever and whatever else covid took from you.
From the big losses of jobs and loved ones to the seemingly insignificant losses of our regular coffee routine, when we acknowledge what we have lost since covid arrived, a part of us feels robbed. Then we feel angry. That’s just human nature.
Then along comes Grief. The feeling that lands on us when our emotions get tangled in knots.
Like the cherry on top, it adds “one more thing” to an already overloaded pile-up of emotions.
So, what do we Do with all this emotion? No one wants to be the “Gloomy Gus” when it seems like everyone else is celebrating.
Right now, everyone else isn’t celebrating. Many people are but many more are putting on brave and happy faces because that’s what they think you and everyone else wants to see.
Like the townspeople in the fable The Emperor’s New Clothes, we all dread being the one to speak up and tell uncomfortable truths. But when you allow yourself to admit what you’re feeling, even just to yourself, moving through grief and messy emotions gets easier.
If you’ve coped with covid, by “being strong”, grief can make you feel like an emotional mess. Remembering we are each going through something can help ease that messy discomfort.
Opening the door to one emotion often lets loose a host of others and that’s true for everyone.
No matter what you’re feeling, it’s real for you.
We’re all feeling schtuff.
Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.