Sitting down to write, this is harder than I expected it to be. To think about mustering the strength to put all my emotions out there. I am mostly worried about how I won’t be able to tie all my thoughts into a pretty bow, to make it seem better and more comfortable for you, so instead I am just going to be extremely honest.
I am grieving. You are grieving. We are grieving together.
I have had a vacation planned for 6 months, one where my family and I were going to go to the beach and relax for 10 whole days. We haven’t had a proper vacation since before my daughter was born 3 years ago. It was something we saved a lot of money to do, but we probably won’t be going on our relaxing vacation in May. I had a countdown on my phone to keep me excited, every day when I worked out it kept me motivated, and anything stressful that happened in last 6 months I just kept thinking, but I get to relax on the beach soon. My vacation plans are now out the window, and I am sad, frustrated, and feeling overwhelmed.
I have been working from home for almost two years now, so I am quite used to what everyone else is feeling right now with adjusting to working from home life. My saving grace has always been to get out of the house and spend time with my family and friends, going to dinner, and having a packed schedule…just going places. It has been so hard to not have the ability to do that. It is so strange to think about when will the next time that I will see my family and hug them or see my friends and laugh with them in-person. I am mourning the time I don’t get to spend with my people right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I really miss them.
But I thought how silly it is that I am feeling all these things when others have it much worse than I do.
Everywhere I turn, I am so saddened by the loss we are all experiencing. We are going through something we have never been through before, and no one has the right answers for the “normal” way to deal with all of this, and there is no end time of when life will get back to normal. I can’t set a countdown on my phone for when COVID-19 will end. I find myself just trying to go through the motions and seek what a normal day is, but, in reality, my heart is breaking, and I am grieving. Some days I tell myself everything is great and fine and other days I want to scream “”WTF!”” We are trying to survive something we have never had to do before, and the load of it is very heavy.
Seniors in high school and college are not able to celebrate a huge accomplishment in their life, graduating and walking across the stage to receive their diploma. My friends aren’t able to give their children birthday parties and have canceled a number of gatherings like house warming parties, going away parties, and their own birthdays. I have seen a dozen of my friends postponing their weddings after over a year of planning and trying to figure out when they will be able to reschedule it with all their venues and vendors. I know senior citizens are feeling more alone than ever, they are stuck in their rooms all day unable to socialize or have visitors. My Uncle calls me weekly just to hear someone else’s voice other than his own. My friends are forgoing their baby showers and birth plans, and we don’t have the ability to see or celebrate these tiny babies that are being born into the world right now. I am sad that I won’t get to meet my best friend’s babies until closer to the end of the year, maybe into next year, and that I haven’t been able to experience this chapter of their lives of being pregnant with them. I have to be strong for my friends and family that are going through countless layoffs right now. So many workers right now are in fear they will be laid off or have already been and how and when they will get a job again in this economy. I see small business owners worried about how they will make ends meet right now since their household incomes rely on them. I have friends that are going into the frontline of this virus that are nurses and doctors that potentially are risking their own health, but fighting for others lives with too little resources. And then I think of their families that are desperately praying for their safety while stuck at home. I know there are countless families and friends out there not able to mourn their loved ones being taken by this pandemic or for other reasons. They aren’t able to gather to hold memorial services or celebrations of life, they genuinely aren’t able to grieve the loss they had.
Many of you are trying to keep your head above water while trying to work at home, meet project deadlines, entertain your children all day, and basically homeschool them at all once while experiencing the numbers of things I listed. You miss your old life, the days before Corona Virus. It is okay to grieve, to feel sad right now, to feel helpless, to feel overwhelmed, and scared. Grief is the psychological-emotional experience following a loss of any kind, and that means losing anything I wrote about above. You don’t have to justify your feelings away or compare yourself to someone else’s losses to minimize how you feel, it is okay to feel sad about a number of things, to mourn our plans, freedom, and happier days we use to have.
It is okay to grieve. None of this is normal. None of this is okay. One day we will feel better; this will all get better. But for now, we are in this together.
It okay to not be okay, and there are several resources out there for you.
- The CDC provides some recommendations for us on this topic.
- The national Disaster Distress Helpline is available to anyone experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a caring counselor.
If you’re experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or your local crisis line – 1-800-273-8255.
- Check with your company’s Employee Assistance Program, which usually offers up to 3 free visits with a therapist.
- Many mental health companies are offering more access to teletherapy such as Talk space, JustAnswer, BetterHelp, WellNite. Many are also offering discounts right now and even providing free counseling for healthcare workers.