Coping during COVID-19: Understanding the emotional response
“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
In times of uncertainty, it is perfectly normal to experience feelings of confusion, tension, anxiety, frustration and even grief or loss. Things that used to bring us joy, such as going out with friends, spending time with loved ones or being in nature are no longer available to us in the way we used to enjoy it. This can be a very lonely, grief and anxiety-provoking time. We may end up feeling powerless and as though lot of our choices have been taken away from us. This can have a huge impact on our mental and emotional well-being, especially if you have a pre-existing disposition to anxiety or depression.
In her book, On Grief and Grieving, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross presented insights into the process of how we grieve. These stages are fluid, not fixed - meaning they might not occur in the order presented, and some people may experience the same stage multiple times. The stages are presented below to help make sense of what you may be experiencing during the lockdown period. Understand that you are not alone in this experience and your feelings towards the situation are valuable and real.
I’ve noted a tendency to judge, push-aside or brood on more challenging emotional states such as fear, anxiety or intense sadness. Now, with some psychological perspective and understanding of what we may be going through emotionally, allow yourself and others the space to engage with the emotional process. What if we were to approach the current narrative and emotional experience in the midst of COVID-19 with compassion and courage, knowing that we're all in this together?