What has happened to my life in lockdown? Grief, loss, anger, frustration, gratitude, numb...
A friend asked me to read their blog on Covid 19, and how it's affecting us, and I realised as I read his article, like my clients I am feeling a myriad of things moment to moment. It's both existential and personal but the rug has been pulled from under us all and our life as we know it is on hold. If someone had said in January as we heralded 2020 that in a matter of weeks this is what life would be, we would have thought they had definitely had too many cocktails and also worried a bit for them.
And now, how do we make sense of our new normal, we don't, we are in it, we are fighting it and accepting it, being grateful for it and angry with it, it's taking but at time it's also giving oddly, as we appreciate what once was our normal. Sometimes there is an overriding peace, a sense of disbelief until we watch the news or someone sends something other than a funny meme and sometimes it is terrifying, families are having loved ones buried that they did not say goodbye to. Fundamentally all grief and sudden loss, including the one that defies all logic, the one that did not appear even as a possibility until a few weeks ago, needs processing.
The brutality of enduring grief is something those who have experienced it know acutely, it's like being dragged to the bottom of the ocean and sometimes wanting to just stay there and quietly give in. To close ones eyes and cease to feel, is sometimes a place that feels like a reprieve. I know the ocean bed, I have had a deeply personal loss and I have also worked with loss in a bereavement centre. I made a decision when I lost my Mum suddenly, healthy to dead in 16 hours that life was a privilege and I owed it to her to live. I challenge those who have lost and are losing people to defy the pull to the ocean floor,. You will need it, you will visit it, but to really make sense of this is going to take time, there will be many in need, many losing people they could not see, many whose last moments were shared with a nurse. Many nurses whose hearts will have broken because they will look at patients and imagine themselves, their Mums, Dads, Uncles and kids where others are lying. There is a universality to the loss, we are robbed even to some extent of it being personal by the fact there are too many stories, we become numb, a new normal of rising death tolls.
We can experience loss without experiencing grief, loss of liberty, spontaneity, autonomy, loss of space, loss of separation of work and home, loss of income, loss of peace of mind. Right now the basis on which we exist and function is lost. Today my personal peace is gone, it's not available to me in this moment because as I step back from my work I know I need to step outside, to walk, to exit the building to breathe differently in order to summon it's return.
I work with my clients as a whole person, I look at all the aspects of their life, exercise, nutrition, sleep, sex, relationships, family. We are complex and in this time our normal outlets are gone, the things that we took for granted, the spontaneous tapas night on a Monday, (not a Friday, just because you feel like it), the walk into town and mooch around the shops, the festival or holiday in the near distance, the family gathering, popping to Tesco. In it's place if we are lucky enough is an awareness that if this hasn't touched us, or we have come out of it, we are or we will be ok, communities are starting to be formed, we see where kindness lives and where self preservation is the primary motivation. We see those that lose their heads and those that do not. Don't be scared to need or to reach out in these times or after, grief always needs to be processed out of our bodies so that equilibrium can be restored. Grief outruns the best of us. Don't ignore it, talk about it.