"We are all riding on our own personal emotional roller coasters."
No matter who you are, you have feelings about this situation and how it impacts you now and how it might impact you later. The collective trauma yields different feelings depending on circumstances and how you typically deal with emotions. You might be angry in one minute, sad in the next and even hopeless the next hour. Perhaps you feel little to nothing as numbing is a trauma response too. Yes, mixed feelings and ambivalence can also be encountered as the roller coaster ride continues.
"There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel. Your feelings are always valid."
Unanswered questions cycle through our minds on a daily basis, often fundamental questions about security around sources of income, health of loved ones and how life will be different in the future. The overall sense of ongoing loss is confusing and can even lead to grief being suspended, not allowing you to come into contact with it because the totality of it all is still unclear and overwhelming. Yet others may be fully aware of their grief or other strong negative emotions such as fear, anger and worry rotating through. And happiness can also happen.
Some seem to be able to notice the good feelings that come when an awareness of what’s positive in this horrible situation reveals itself (New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning spoke of the joy of knowing his family more deeply because of the extra time they’ve had together). Some are speaking of the benefits of slowing down. Even gratitude is unfolding. Like Andrew Cuomo, there are people considering how they will positively change when this is over. Unfortunately, in the big picture, the roller coaster highs are probably more fleeting at this time when so much uncertainty abounds.
Many are also cycling through desperation, worries about fundamental needs and for those who thrive on physical contact with the people they love, sadness for not being safely allowed to hug their friends or family outside of their cocoon at home. As we stay strapped in on our rides, we zip and zoom up and down from the highs of noticing silver linings and perhaps fleeting moments of, “I got this, it isn’t so bad,” to possibly very deep lows steeped in panic around survival concerns.
Perhaps your ride is less volatile and you’re noticing fewer rises and falls. That’s your ride. Because we all have our own filters, paradigms and unique situations going through this, no one’s emotional roller coaster will be the same.
If you are feeling worn out, emotionally frayed at the edges or over-stressed with your ride, it’s important to find ways to minimize this impact.
Try these steps:
Now it’s time for kindness, understanding and validation of our collective emotional experience in this pandemic. No matter what your emotional roller coaster ride looks like, simply acknowledging you are on one is the first step in thriving the best way possible through this crisis.
Our journeys are unique but surely we share the same hope for health, security, the overall wellness of our communities and the world. One day we will be able to tentatively disembark our roller coasters, shake off the impact and look around with bright eyes at what lays ahead.
Originally posted at https://loveandlifetoolbox.com/were-all-doing-this-during-the-pandemic/
Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with tools for emotional health and incredible relationships. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared online on CNN, Huffington Post, Men’s Health and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.