Many of us perceive “grief” as being a response to losing someone we love while in the actual sense, grief is actually a much more of a complex phenomenon. Dealing with any kind of loss can involve a grief process, even if that loss isn’t exactly tangible.
During this Covid-19 period, there is so much to grieve for and this includes a collective loss of normalcy, and for many of us, we’ve lost a sense of connection, routine, and certainty about the future.
Some of us have already lost jobs and even loved ones. Moreover, there is a lingering sense that more loss is still to come. That sense of fearful anticipation is what is termed as ‘anticipatory grief.’
Here are some of the signs you may experience.
ONE GETS EXTREMELY WORKED UP ON THINGS BEYOND THEIR CONTROL
Small obstacles suddenly feel intolerable. These obstacles often serve as unconscious reminders that things aren’t the same triggering grief and a sense of loss, even when we aren’t aware of it.
If you find yourself getting worked up more often, be gentle with yourself. This is a completely normal reaction during this difficult period.
Immense withdrawal — when we feel overwhelmed and emotionally triggered, it makes more sense to withdraw from others. If we can barely keep ourselves afloat, avoiding other people can feel like we’re protecting ourselves from their stress and anxiety.
However, isolation is likely to increase sentiments of depression and anxiety. It is important to stay connected to others and we can do that by keeping firm boundaries about what kinds of support we can offer.
Being so activated on a daily basis can really tire us out, making exhaustion a conventional grief experience.
This is particularly difficult at a time when so many people are talking about how productive they’ve been while self-isolating. It can feel pretty heart-wrenching to hear about others starting new projects or are on the path to self-development yet you’re feeling lethargic and getting out of bed seems difficult.
Currently, if all you can do is keep yourself safe and sane, that’s more than good enough. Preparation of the worst case Scenario
Preparedness is important, but if you find yourself fixated on the most disastrous possibilities you may be doing more harm than good as this triggers chronic stress. Self-care during this period is of the highest importance.
Some of the coping mechanisms may include:
AFFIRMATION OF YOUR SENTIMENTS
Everyone will experience grief in a different manner and none of the feelings you’re having are unreasonable during such a difficult time. They are valid. Be kind to yourself.
BRING IT BACK TO BASICS
It’s especially important to stay fed, hydrated, and rested at this time. If you’re struggling with this. Self-care is important. Your body is a reflection of your mind therefore you need to take care of it.
Connect with others, even when you don’t want to. It can be tempting to shut everyone out when you’re overwhelmed and triggered. Human connection is a critical part of our well-being and your loved ones are fundamental when it comes to offering emotional support.
PRIORITISE REST AND RELAXATION
When our anxiety is triggered, we tend to feel extremely lethargic and exhausted. Listen to your body, rest when exhausted.
Creative outlets are, especially helpful right now. Try journaling, drawing, cooking or whatever helps you to process what’s happening for you emotionally.
TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL
Online therapy is a blessing right now. If you can access it, therapists are a vital resource for moving through grief and anxiety at this time.
Currently, there are many professionals that have set up online therapy platforms at a reasonable fee and there is also the government hotline — 1199 — which one can use when they are feeling mentally distressed.
THE EVENTUALITY OF ANTICIPATORY GRIEF IS ACCEPTANCE
There is a monumental shift around us and the struggles you are facing are completely comprehensible as a lot of us are grieving in this particular way.
Acceptance is key in dealing with anticipatory grief and as you get to this stage, be gentle with yourself, always keep in mind that you will weather this particular storm and that you are worthy of support.