As I sit on the couch and practice “safer at home,” I detect a sense of sadness coming over me. I start reflecting on all the small things I’ve taken for granted, like grabbing a cup of coffee at the local shop, riding my bike along the beach, or giving my friend a hug. I begin to notice a change in my body, mind, and mood. I realize I am grieving.
Many times we associate grief with a loss of a loved one, but that is not the only thing we grieve. We can grieve our freedom, our sports teams, our sense of self, our roles at work, or our favorite restaurants. We can grieve anything we lose that means something to us.
As time continues to pass and days begin to blur, I notice I keep moving through the different stages of grief. The grieving process is not linear and I find myself undergoing moments of shock, anger, acceptance, and sadness. Some days I am great and other days I struggle. And that is okay. I understand that my mind and body are trying to make sense and process something that is uncertain. It is just trying to problem-solve and keep me safe. And for those reasons, I thank my mind and body for doing its job. That doesn’t mean I have to believe what it says or like how it makes me feel. If the though or feeling is unhelpful I can let it come and go like passing cars outside my window. Struggling with them would only make the experience worst.
As I continue to live through this pandemic, I have begun to accept and make meaning of this time. I have learned that control is an illusion. I appreciate the little things like a hug from my fiancé, a nice cup of coffee, or a long hot shower. All I have is the present moment. So I do my best to cultivate a sense of happiness by fully experiencing them will all my senses. Finally, even if I am stuck inside I can still live by my values. I can give my time, my money, and my kindness to those in need. I can share my skills and knowledge as a therapist to help others make sense of these overwhelming times. I can do my best, and that is good enough.
I share my experience because others may be in the same boat. They might find themselves experiencing similar feelings and thoughts and I want to let them know it's okay. It’s okay to be sad, angry, frustrated, or whatever emotion you come across. Grieving is just a process to help us make sense and deal with the loss of things that are important to us. Remember to be kind yourself at this time. Remember that regardless of all the uncertain you have a choice on how you want to respond.
I encourage you to make the choice to breathe into your grief. Give yourself the space to allow whatever thoughts and feelings to come and go. As unpleasant and uncomfortable as it is try to observe it with openness, hold it with compassion, and allow it to simply be. For it will pass. I promise.
Coronavirus doesn’t only affect those who have it. It affects everyone, everywhere by creating limits through isolation. It keeps us away from our loved ones, our favorite activities, and our freedom. This then can give rise to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, etc. So it is important that we do our part to help mitigate this problem. The world is grieving right now and we can all help by lending an ear and giving people the space to process and talk about it.
We are the sky. Our feelings and thoughts are the weather: constantly changing. Some days are better than others. Some storms are stronger than others. However, the sky is constant even if we can’t see it, we know it’s there. In that there is hope. With hope there is endless possibilities.
Sarit Fassazadeh is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in Los Angeles, CA. She specializes in childhood anxiety, panic, and body focused repetitive behaviors. She takes an Acceptance and Commitment therapy approach when working with her clients in order to help them foster fulfilling and meaningful lives. She is grateful for the opportunities to share her insights with others and hopes that it can help. If you are interested in learning more about her services check out her website Healingwithpurposetherapy.com