Grieve. But Be Kind To Yourself.
Updated: Jul 30
Grieving for 2020
There is so much happening in the world right now and it is incredibly hard to make sense of it all. It’s even difficult to really wrap our heads around what is happening within ourselves. There are so many emotions that this pandemic and subsequent response has invoked in us all; confusion, fear, anger, disappointment, loss, grief, hope, sadness, compassion, concern, anxiety, and depression just to name those that cycle through us in any given day, or even multiple times per day. We are all doing our best to remain calm and positive but when each news cycle brings with it a new onslaught of challenges, it is incredibly hard not to be overcome by it all.
So let’s stop trying to push it away, let’s not engage in ongoing denial of the seriousness of the situation or bury ourselves within distractions. Let’s name it; this completely SUCKS. People are losing their lives out there. People are losing their jobs and businesses that they poured their heart and soul into. People are scared and angry and looking for someone to blame. At the same time that we are seeing the absolute best of humanity, we are also seeing them at their worst. We are seeing each other through layers of anger, fear, disappointment and confusion. Tempers are short, discomfort is everywhere and here’s a shocker; we aren’t great at this. Everyone is processing this whole situation differently and reacting in their own way and then we sit in judgment of each other because others aren’t handling it in the way we think they should.
But here’s the truth; there is no right way to respond to this. There is no perfect coping mechanism that will universally work for everyone. People are angry and they are hurt and scared and disappointed. And THAT IS OKAY. This was not the plan for any of us at the beginning of 2020. We all went into this new decade with high hopes and the best of intentions. Every one of us had plans and goals that did not anticipate being forced to distance from each other for the overall health of the population. No one could have anticipated that the country would virtually shut down and our economy would be in the precarious place that is now. Three months ago, COVID-19 was not on our radar. Now it is all people are talking about as it has up ended everything else in our lives.
So yes, be sad, be disappointed, be angry. Grieve for the year that you thought you were going to have. Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of your feelings in this moment of uncertainty. And please, please be gentle with yourself in the process. You are not going to do this perfectly, or even maybe very well some days. If what you need right now is to eat the chocolate, cry into your pillow (or scream into it), binge watch 9 hours of guilty pleasure TV, live in your sweatpants or any other behavior that is not harmful to you, then by all means, DO IT. Do it freely and without guilt. You are grieving and you deserve compassion…from yourself. Grant yourself that compassion and that kindness.
And try to remember that those people who are on social media sharing negativity or even just filling out silly surveys all day long, they are all grieving too. We all move through the stages of grief differently and it presents in different ways so let’s reach for compassion when we can…for others and most importantly, for ourselves.
About the Author Kimberly Garrison, PsyD, is the Clinical Director of The Collective Integrated Behavioral Health located in Denver, CO. The Collective is a multidisciplinary behavioral health practice that provides holistic therapy and psychiatry services to adults and young professionals. Dr. Garrison is a Licensed Psychologist in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Health and is certified in Nutritional Psychology. Contact Dr. Garrison at Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to www.collectivebh.com.
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