I am an experienced therapist and have done many years of personal work. Yet, on March 12, I couldn’t wait to get to my journal and start pouring my dismay and confusion. My first sentence was “What is going on? What is going on?!” COVID-19 was coming close and I already sensed everything was going to change. Everything. In the following days, the news felt like powerful ocean waves that moved me up and down, threw me on shore for a little break, and then pulled me back in. Today, I still hear the waves hitting the rocks, yet I am grounded and calm. I have adapted. As we all will, eventually.
What has COVID-19 brought to our human existence?
Unprecedented experience. Something we have never seen or done before. Something without a reference point or comparison. Yes, elements of it have happened in the past but the totality of the COVID-19 experience is completely New. Our brains are scrambling to make sense of this new reality.
Hourly change of enormous magnitude. New decisions are being made at an office, city, country and global level every hour. Decisions that have never been made before. New information streams in every few minutes. Social reactions are being released into the social media vessels every second. A little change is exciting. Too much change is overwhelming, frightening and stressful. We have not had a moment of news “flattening” since the COVID-19 story began. The stress has been ongoing, lengthy and indefinite.
Uncertainty. Most of us build our lives on certainty, predictability, and routines. The uncertainty around the length of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact is an indisputable fact. Right now, there is no one that can give us the comfort of prediction and assurance, as much as we want that. This is very new and can be very unsettling.
How do we deal with this?
We learn and we adapt. We do this naturally and well. With all the chatter and resistance, we do react quickly and adjust to the new situation. We overreact and then we laugh about it. We are creative, resourceful, flexible and intelligent. We listen and make up our own minds. We vent to process our emotions. We complain to sort out our thoughts. We ask questions to make sense of things. We express concerns and worry in search of the most appropriate course of action. A wonderful human eco system moving in full force in response to an unprecedented environmental change.
Observe your experience, allow it to be, participate intelligently, and contribute kindly.
My advice on health, work and staying connected coming up in my next blog.