Mental Health and Grief During a Pandemic and Times of Uncertainty.
- By Amy Taylor BSN, RN
We can feel grief due to a variety of situations. Most often we think, of course, of the loss of a loved one, and these are certainly often the most grief-filled experiences we have. However, grief over loss also exists as a result of loss of normalcy, loss of a job, a relationship and dealing with any change in life. Any period of trauma or event can result in grief.
We are living in a very strange time. To go from living our lives as we normally would to everything shutting down in a matter of days, is a lot for people to process. Whether it is a loss of job, working from home with kids also at home who require supervision, canceling travel, isolation from loved ones, etc. Any and all of this can cause grief. Some of us believe the government has handled this well and some of us think it was an overreaction. Some of us think we should get back to normal quickly while others believe we are moving too fast.
No matter what your viewpoint is politically or otherwise, we are all suffering some grief right now. There is dissent between those still taking precautions and those that aren’t. Many are returning to work, but not all job losses are temporary. Wearing masks is hot and continuing to be “on guard” is frankly exhausting. “Back to normal” might not ever be as it was before this pandemic That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Good things that came out of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic were the development of vaccines and increased awareness of the need for public health funding. There will be some positives that will come out of this time period, even if we can’t imagine what they are right now. As a church family we have found new ways to communicate with and support each other. We are succeeding in this battle even if it isn’t over and it doesn’t feel like it. Still, we need to allow ourselves to grieve our losses. What is your grief?!?
At times like this we may use short-term energy relievers like overeating or drinking too much alcohol. We might spend more time on social media. Some of our stress relievers can end up causing us grief in the long run. When people ask how you are, do you automatically say “fine?” Fine can actually mean: Feelings inside not expressed. Is this you? Take some time to process how you are feeling. What will you remember about this time? What do you like about this time? What do you miss during this time? Talk with your friends and family. Encourage others to tell their story. We need to help each other through this, it is definitely what Jesus would do
Be safe and stay healthy!
Amy Taylor BSN, RN