08 May I Don’t Know Why I’m Sad
COVID-19 has become a thing. It has permeated our daily lives. It has become a driving force in our decision making, our work life, school life, social life and even our home life. Most of us can’t remember the first time we heard the terms, COVID-19 or novel coronavirus. Perhaps we recall being intrigued by what was happening overseas or we remember the compassion we felt for the people who were impacted. Now, WE are those people. Our friends, family members, co-workers and extended networks are all affected by COVID-19. From just a few cases in the U.S. to hundreds, then thousands, it changed our lives before we could even completely wrap our minds around what was happening. Our lives were upended. Our kids are home from school, indefinitely. We are working from home or in some cases, even laid off from our jobs. In what seems like our entire way of life was changed in an instant.
We thought we were fine; just adjusting to the changes as they came and then one day…a single tear. Or perhaps it was an unrelenting sadness that we just can’t place. For me, it was the tears – welling up in my eyes in the midst of daily activities. Most of us are still balancing all the tasks before us, still taking care of the kids, our homes, all while learning to be teachers, doctors, medical and political analysts, assessors of the state of the world. Still, the sadness permeates it all. Sadness sneaks up on us, especially when we’re alone and things are quiet.
Here is the truth. You get to feel what is going on in the world. You are entitled to your sadness. You have permission to cry if you need a good cry. Give yourself the same grace and compassion you give other people when they are grieving because you ARE grieving. You are grieving the abrupt loss of your normal way of life, the loss of certainty, of safety, of security, the loss of being able to be with people you care about and maybe even the loss of a loved one. Allow yourself the room to grieve what you have lost and give yourself the space to feel your sadness. It is okay if the people around you don’t understand or don’t agree with your response. There is nothing to be ashamed of. These are your emotions to feel and yours to process. The most important thing is that you feel these feelings in a healthy way to avoid this very normal sadness turning into depression.
Here are a few pointers on healthy grieving:
- Acknowledge your sadness.
- Give yourself permission to feel your grief.
- Create a safe space where you can experience your emotions undisturbed.
- Comfort yourself with an affirmation: “This is only temporary. I can adjust and thrive.”
- Admit the things you miss in life.
- Set reasonable expectations for yourself.
- Recognize that the grieving process is different for everyone.
- Guard your heart and mind- Too much news can be bad news for your mental health.
- Do something positive to spark joy. Right now.
- Be kind to yourself.
The fact is, we are living in uncertain and unprecedented times. Emotional responses to abrupt changes and uncertainty are normal. We are human beings, experiencing our humanness and that is okay. Give yourself the space and time to acknowledge your feelings, experience them and heal from them. You are not alone. We are all going through something. We are all doing our best (like typing a blog with tears in my eyes). Be kind to yourself. Show yourself compassion and know that this uncomfortable season will pass. We will learn something, and we will be OK.
Ashleigh R. Dennis-Silas, LPC, CPCS is the Clinical Manager of CHRIS Counseling Center – Gwinnett. She can be reached at Counseling.Center@CHRIS180.org.