Since the dawn of time, humans have learned to ignore pain and discomfort. Ignoring small pains allowed our ancestors to keep running when the lions and tigers were chasing them, or to keep working as the bombs of war were dropping. Thanks to our ancestors’ ability to keep going even when they didn’t want to, we’re here today. Unfortunately, once pushing-past-pain becomes a habit, it’s a hard one to stop and many of us never learned how. Today many folks are uncertain when to stop or how to tend to their own pains if they do. Especially when it comes to emotional pain.
We’ve been taught to bury emotional pain and if we can’t keep it buried, then to ignore our feelings and focus on something else. When CoVid hit, a lot of folks found themselves home with a lifetime of unhealed pain and they felt overwhelmed.
On top of whatever old pains you may have found, CoVid added new and unexpected things to grieve.
Physical Distancing may keep us physically safe but it comes with both psychological and emotional costs. Humans need humans. We need touch and eye contact and these weeks without it have hurt us all. It’s okay to admit that it hurts.
Many who were raised to be strong are uncomfortable admitting how much we grieve simple things but the truth is, many of us are missing Smiles. Masks can make it challenging to communicate with strangers and without being able to see their whole face, it feels challenging to know who to trust. Like Physical Distancing, masks may keep our bodies from acquiring and spreading the virus but by hiding Smiles they leave our hearts and souls yearning for connection. It’s okay to admit that.
And now that the world is gearing up to get back to “Normal” many folks are grieving the next change of pace. As hard as it was for the whole world to stop, it has given many of us a chance to rest. There are folks who have spent more time with family than ever before and others who have found new hobbies. They are dreading the return to a life that seemed like it was running on overdrive. It’s okay to admit that you like this slower pace.
And it’s also okay to admit that you’re looking forward to getting back to work, away from being with your family and once again, getting to talk to your co-workers. Or maybe you’re dreading the office and the masks and the new protocols and the possibility that you might come into contact with CoVid.
No matter what you’re feeling, it’s real.
No one else needs to validate or understand it,
… but when you admit what you’re feeling, if only to yourself… life gets a little bit easier.
Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.