Why Quarantine is SO Hard
Who knew that laying around doing nothing would be so exhausting?
Ok, so there ARE a lot of us are who are not laying around doing nothing. A lot of us are trying to work from home while managing the stressors of Virtual Schooling. A lot of us are finding that our usual ways of coping with life have been taken away. Shut down. Removed-- and we are grieving a nationwide change in how we go about just Living Life.
If I've never mentioned it before, I've had a whole lot of counseling. Since my husband came home from Iraq with PTSD we have had individual counseling, marriage counseling, and family counseling. After my oldest son's diagnosis of depression and anxiety we also had crisis counseling.
The short version of 10 years of counseling? Grief is not only assigned to the loss of a loved one. Losing someone we love is only one kind of grief. Humans have the capacity to grieve many situations:
The loss of a relationship.
The loss of a way of life.
The Loss of a job.
The Death of a dream, which can coincide with the next one:
A Life Altering Diagnosis
Does any of that ring a bell?
Let me point out that the list above names only a few types of grief, and there's also "secondary" grief when someone you love experiences any type of grief.
Why are we so stressed and exhausted? Because as a nation, as a world, we are grieving.
We are grieving a disease that leaves many feeling afraid and many feeling lonely. We are grieving the loss of our way of life. We are missing our friends, because Zoom is great, but it's NOT the same. You can't hug on Zoom, ya'll. We are shocked, and saddened, and tired, and sometimes bored because we can't experience the kinds of recreation we are used to, in order unwind and blow off steam-- AND we are really worn out from the stress of carrying all those emotions.
In a society used to a pace of busy-ness, there is now ALL this time, and a lot of stress. It's terribly hard on the psyche to suddenly, almost overnight, have the life you knew ripped away from you, and it's also incredibly difficult to not have an established end date for a return to normal. Unknowns are scary and change is hard. We are dealing with BOTH, and more, all at once.
So we grieve... and grief, well it's unpredictable. It's not a straight line. It can be cyclical, but it does not move in an orderly fashion along the circle. It jumps around like a thousand tiny jumping beans, sometimes making the person experiencing grief feel confused and even unhinged. When a griever moves back into a stage already experienced it can bring frustration- "I thought I dealt with that, and here it is again"- because it was dealt with, but needs to be worked through differently, or on a deeper level, or with some reframing of grief itself.
Everyone grieves differently. Even people with similar temperments or experience. What you need in a time of grief is unique to you and what I need in a time of grief is unique to me. My grief will not match up with yours.
For now, the best we can do is give a whole lot of grace to ourselves and others. We are doing the best we can in an unprecedented time in history. It is terribly difficult. We do what we have to in order to get through, and we must learn to gather grace when we can't gather together.
A little bit of kindness and grace will go a long way to offer some comfort to meet needs in a terribly difficult season.
This season is difficult. It's difficult because: (list your challenges).
I give myself permission to feel what I feel, and I ask for your guidance in accepting and working through the grieving process, however that looks for me.
Help me to accept the way that others grieve when it looks different than my own grief.
Equip me show kindness and apologize when I fall short of perfection (because I will). Help me to forgive myself for my perceived shortcomings and shine your light over and in and through me. Guide me into Your peace that passes understanding.
Thank you for walking with me in a place where I don't know the path or exactly how to walk it. Guide me into a deeper understanding of the wellness you have for me, and teach me how to gather grace for myself and those around me.