We are Grieving and That’s Okay
It’s okay to admit it – you are struggling right now.
We all are.
Our world has been turned upside down. Most of us have not experienced anything like this in our lifetime. And we do not know how long this will last. And we do not know what the future will hold. The uncertainty is causing us a great deal of stress and anxiety. Many of us have a mix of emotions, and this will continue for some time.
A multitude of questions are swirling around in our minds…
This isn’t real, is it?
How long is this going to last?
Why is this happening?
Things can’t get any worse, can they?
Will someone I know contract COVID-19?
Will I contract COVID-19?
If I do contract COVID-19, will I survive through it?
Am I being selfish thinking about myself and my own life?
The list of questions swirling around in our minds goes on. And on.
What is important to understand is that these questions and feelings we have are perfectly normal when going through an experience like this. It is important to know that we are not alone, and we are are all in this together. And what can be helpful to understand is why we are feeling the way we are feeling and what other feelings that we can expect to have.
What the world is going through right now is a very large-scale, collective cycle of grief.
The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle has five key stages:
Denial is the first stage of grief.
This is when we do not want to admit or accept what is currently happening is actually happening.
Responses and attitudes might include: “It’s not going to last that long!” or “It’s not going to affect me personally.”
Anger is the second stage of grief.
This is when we get mad and upset about the situation we are experiencing. We might think it’s an inconvenience or that it’s unfair to us.
Responses and attitudes might include: “Why is this happening to me?” or “This is so unfair!”
Bargaining is the third stage of grief.
This is when we try and negotiate the terms of the situation we are in – despite the fact that they are very likely non-negotiable.
Responses and attitudes might include: “Okay, I will stay inside, only if I can eat all of the junk food I want,” or “I will stop meeting up with friends, but I will not stop going outside for walks.”
Depression is the fourth stage of grief.
This is when we start to feel very sorry for ourselves and the situation we are in. We cannot see a clear solution or the light at the end of the tunnel. For some, this can be a slight depression that comes and goes. For others, it can be deeper. Signs of depression are hopeless outlook, increased fatigue, sleep issues, anxiety, uncontrollable emotions, and thoughts of death/suicide.
Responses and attitudes might include: “This is too much to handle,” or “I can’t even face the day anymore.”
Acceptance is the fifth and last stage of grief.
This is when we realize that we have little to no control over the situation or the outcome and we acknowledge that life is running its course. It is critical to understand that acceptance of a situation is required before being able to move on from it.
Responses and attitudes might include: “I understand what is happening and I’m okay with it,” or “I have no control over this and that’s fine.”
What is the world currently grieving about exactly?
Well, some of us are grieving the loss of our independence and freedom.
Most are grieving the loss of stability in our life.
Many are grieving the loss of a job.
Some are grieving the loss of a loved one.
And we are all going to be experiencing different phases of grief at different times, and possibly cycle through the stages multiple times in the weeks and months to come, depending on our own circumstances.
Know that you are not grieving alone. Remain physically distant from others, but stay socially connected as much as you can. This will help you through the process.
Josh lives and works in downtown Vancouver, is optimistic about the future, and is taking things day by day.