We associate grief with the death of a loved one. But grief can happen over the loss of anything, including freedom. Let’s explore the stages…
1. Denial: This isn’t really happening. It’s not a big deal. I won’t be affected. This can also appear the opposite with thoughts like “we’re doomed.”
2. Anger: Why is this happening?!!! Or, why isn’t someone doing something?
3. Bargaining: If ____ didn’t happen, then I/we wouldn’t be in this situation. If I do ____, everything will change.
4. Depression: This is useless. Why bother?
5. Acceptance: I can do this/get through this. 😊
I would add a 6th: Gratitude: While it may be difficult to see the benefits of any loss, it may be easier to find gratitude in recalling the benefits of the experience you had before the loss. It is also helpful to look at other areas of your life that are providing a benefit to you in the present. It may feel like the world is falling apart; but there are always positive things going on around you. You may just have to look a little harder.
As we progress through the effects of COVID-19, think about these stages and where you fit in. Understand it is important to go through each phase, otherwise you may end up circling back. And, instead of ignoring your feelings, imagine having a conversation with a child…YOUR inner child…and ask how he/she is feeling and why.
Q: Why are you angry?
A: Because people are not responding the way I feel they should be.
Q: Why do you feel that way?
A: I think that people will be hurt if they don’t do the right thing.
Going through this process will help you better understand yourself and where your emotions are coming from. It also may help you understand others’ perspectives and what may be driving them. Most importantly, accept where you (and others) are in the process and work through each stage. If you find you are having difficulty moving through a particular stage, I encourage you to get support. A rope is stronger with more threads.