- Traumas are traumas regardless of the life/death situations that shock and drastically disrupt our lives and livelihoods
- It is said that every trauma causes us to experience the same Five Stages of Grief
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The coronavirus pandemic has been and continues to be a shock to the world…a shock that has disrupted our daily lives…a shock that has rendered us health and economically uncertain and, in many cases, insecure…a shock and trauma that all of us, regardless of age, ethnicity, income level, educational level, place, etc., must grapple with on a daily basis.
And with this shock, this trauma, this complete disruption and intrusion that has turned all of our individual and collective worlds inside out,, all of us, whether admittedly or un-admittedly, are feeling some level of grief. We grieve because “things” are not the same as they used to be nor may they ever be again.
Looking at the five stages of grief in the order we usually experience them may help all of us get a handle on our emotions. These five stages include:
- Shock and Denial – When most of us experience traumal, we usually try to avoid even thinking about what has caused us such trauma, such upheaval, such disruption. We often just deny that it ever happened or that it happened to us. We become frightened, anxious, numb and very confused by this disruption, this upheaval, and in the case of this coronavirus pandemic, we look for someone to blame. We see people all around us still denying the virus itself or that it could attack us…that we may become infected…that we may become very sick and/or die from this virus. And, we see people around us who have lost their jobs and incomes BECAUSE of this virus. Having to “stay at home” and be cooped up without being able to work, to earn, to be with groups of friends and colleagues and/or go to school becomes “just too much” and in turn, we become even more anxious and afraid.
- Anger – The more traumatized, shocked and essentially disrupted we become by not being able to live our “normal lives” in the ways we’ve chosen to live them, the more frustrated, anxious, irritated and even shameful we become. By having our choices taken away from us, by not being able to be who and what we have chosen to be, we become even more enraged.
- Depression and Detachment – Now that we’ve lost everything (our hopes, our dreams, our work, our income, our ability to live the way we want to live), most of us slip into feeling completely out of control and helpless. And with helplessness comes a complete lack of energy and lack of security.
- Dialogue and Bargaining – As our “new” reality becomes harder and harder to ignore, many of us begin reaching out to others. We want to tell our own stories and we want to hear other peoples’ stories. Basically, many of us are struggling to find meaning in this trauma, this thing that totally blew up our lives and meaning in our fundamental selves. “If I can’t meet and talk with clients face-to-face anymore, maybe I meet and talk with clients via video-chats or conferencing? If I can’t physically show my clients a house they might want to purchase, maybe I can show them that house via a virtual tour? If I can’t earn the income I want and have become accustomed to earning, how can I do these things?”
- Acceptance – Once we finally come to accepting our new reality and the choices we actually can make in a new reality in terms of how we live, work, earn, learn, communicate, etc., then we can create a new place in our new world. Then maybe we can begin exploring new options and alternatives, new ideas and solutions, new ways of looking at the world and ourselves within that world.
All of us, whether or not we want or admit to, experience these five stages of grief along with the many emotions associated with these five stages. And all of us, whether we want to or admit to, have been and/or continue to be traumatized by the economic shock caused by this coronavirus pandemic. Not only are we fearing for our physical well being in the midst of this deadly virus, we are fearing for our economic well being in the midst of the sheer assault this virus has caused our financial well being.
Perhaps helping ourselves through this trauma by understanding and allowing ourselves to experience the five stage of grief will help us and those we love come through this incredible shock on another end.