When The Loss of Someone or Something you Love Collides with Loss of Personal Space
A year of intermittent and prolonged lockdowns, without much warning to prepare, has been tumultuous to say the least. The pandemic has also brought a great deal of loss with it.
Many have experienced the loss of loved ones, either from Covid-19 or from other health conditions. Then many of us have felt our job security or our businesses crumble under the weight of the recession.
Without wishing to put a bleak spin on things, let’s just gently acknowledge that the last year has been a very trying period.
I wanted to look at this from the angle of lockdown and lost personal space, as I feel this can have a direct impact on grieving. Many people do some, if not most of their grieving in private.
Many people feel that they should keep their pain to themselves.
You don’t have to hide your grief
The thing is, you really don’t have to hide your grief. I know that you probably grew up looking to your family members in the generations above you. Those parents and grandparents who lived through World War 2 were incredibly stoic.
There was certainly no awareness of PTSD in those days. Or at least it didn’t have a widely recognised name. And grief groups certainly weren’t the norm.
But the world is different these days, and we can finally be more open about our mental health. And the thing is, we don’t have to go down the path of our mental health suffering if we allow the pain to be processed and the grief to be vented.
Our coping strategies and their knock on effects that we live with further down the track, wouldn’t even begin if we let ourselves grieve.
When I hid my own grief away, I managed to keep a lid on it for a long while. But when it eventually bubbled over, it manifested as comfort eating and binge-watching shows on TV and Netflix.
I was simply trying to numb and distract myself.
But these unhealthy practices only lead to more unhealthiness, and before long we are wondering how we wound up in such a mess.
The more you share, the better for everyone
So please allow yourself to grieve your losses.
There is nothing wrong or ‘bad’ about a period of sadness.
The trick is letting it be processed, and then allowing yourself to heal and find peace. And this all happens much faster when you don’t try to resist the grief.
I’d love to tell you that you can feel free to cry openly, and talk to everybody you know. It’s all an important part of healing, and your support network would love to be there for you.
It’s true, you can do that, and your family and friends would like to help more than you know. In truth, where your supporters struggle is when you shut them out, and then they don’t know how to help.
But I know that there is a good chance you will struggle with grieving very openly. Our culture is ingrained in us, and reading a blog post from me won’t be the magic key to unlock generations of ancestral behavioural patterns.
So let’s just say this. Share as much as you can do. And when you can’t, ask for time alone to work through your feelings. Don’t wait until the lack of personal space starts to wear you down.
It’s okay to ask for a time out
The series of lockdowns has likely done one of two things for you. It has isolated those who live alone from their support network. Or it has taken away precious personal space from people who live with others.
I’m thinking of parents who have lost a family member, perhaps to Covid-19, and then who feel the need to put on a brave face for their young children. Or parents who are supporting their older children through home schooling, while quietly grieving the loss of their career or business.
I think most of us are probably doing great impressions of swans right now. We are trying to look graceful above the water level. But below the surface our little webbed feet are paddling at full speed.
Even if you know this already, I find myself wanting to tell you that it’s important to put yourself first sometimes. Yes, even if you’re a parent or have other responsibilities. If you don’t process your losses and spend time healing, then you are not the only one who will suffer in the long term.
When the pain finally bubbles over and spills out, it tends to hurt everybody.
It might show up as anger. It may be more a shutting down and lack of joy. It could be passive aggressiveness, or any combination of these.
It may even turn inward and damage your physical health. The body never lies, and if you internalise your pain, then it can manifest as illness.
I know you know this theoretically. But sometimes we just need to be reminded of it.
So if you are experiencing loss of any kind, and your inner desire to grieve is colliding with your outer need to run a busy household, then please take a little break here and there. Ask for what you need and want; whether that’s to talk or to be alone for a while.
If you would like to talk to me, there are many ways that I can help you. Take a look at the options on my website here. You might also like my new offering for 2021, The Cocoon, which is 3 months of 1-2-1 healing online with me.
A very compassionate read – I think the swan analogy is very apt for what most of us are experiencing in these very strange times.
Thank you for your comments. Yes, I would totally agree with you – we are paddling rapidly at the moment.