The coronavirus has changed our world overnight and stripped us of our certainty. We are standing on the threshold of a new world and nobody knows what it is going to look like yet, our circumstances are changing on a daily basis, so we are not even in a place where we can plan for a post coronavirus life. And yet our family, friends and the world at large are relying on us keeping our sh*t together and staying functional despite our traumatic circumstances.
Huge emotions are arising for people, fear, anxiety, loss, sorrow, anger, despair, and this for many is becoming overwhelming. People are turning to distractions to numb themselves out in a bid to remain functional and whilst this provides temporary relief from the feelings, they just keep returning, unbidden to wash over you again and again.
Turn to social media and you will find all sorts of advice on how to keep yourself distracted (numbed out) at this time in order to hold it together, baking, reading, learning a new skill, starting a side hustle, writing a book, drinking, the list goes on.
In contrast and just for a bit of balance you also have the realists who say that just existing through this crisis should be enough, that we are suffering from trauma and we are grieving the loss of the world as we know it. Be kind to yourself they say.
That’s all well and good I guess but what about those of us who haven’t really mastered that skill quite yet? Compassion for others is all well and good, but compassion for the self ?!? perhaps that’s a different matter entirely. What about those of us who have people around us saying step up, be here for me, people who we don’t feel we can say no to, sorry I have my own sh*t going on? Where do we find the space to have our moments to just be a mess? What about those of us who don’t know how to express our needs to others, what do we do?
For some of us just being a mess doesn’t feel like an option, but is there a balance to be struck here?
Can you find a space in your life, a space where you just allow yourself to be whatever it is that you need to be, right now? Better still, can you find a place where you can do this and be witnessed by a compassionate other? Can you more accurately assess who you actually need to be something else for at the moment (I’m thinking possibly kids here)? Can you have conversations with the others around you who are turning to you for support right now and say actually, do you know what, maybe I need some support too, how can we look after each other, rather than just being the solid one all the time?
Holding it together by whatever means possible (numbing out) gains us temporary relief from our discomfort and distress but it doesn’t help us to process what is happening for us right now and hampers our effectiveness in this moment. Worse still if we don’t process what is going on for us now it will hamper our ability to move forwards as the crisis dies down and becomes less traumatic and we are required to step into a new future. Our feelings won’t just miraculously go away, they will need to be processed then.
How are you going to look after yourself in all of this and make sure you get to come out the other side in the best way possible?
Need to find some support? Check out this six week course to help you process what is going on right now…
**Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash