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Family Life Education - Volume I

Why am I feeling this Way? 

Lavonne Pappert, M.A., CFLE 

April 17, 2020

 

The world as we know it has changed, and it happened almost overnight. What felt normal a few weeks ago has been replaced by fear, economic toll and interpersonal loss of connection. 

 

We are trying to accept a new normal.  We learned social distancing, the value of toilet paper, and that communication would be done through screens.  We have complied and followed the rules, so why do we still struggle? The answer is we are actually grieving.

 

There is more than one form of grief, including the anticipation of what is to come.  

Anticipatory grief is the feeling we get wondering what the future holds.  Our human mind knows something bad is happening, but we can’t see it, which compromises our sense of safety.  Prolonged unhealthy anticipatory grief is actually anxiety (we begin to imagine the worst-case scenario). To help manage anticipatory grief and anxiety we must find balance.  We have to remember that people get sick and the world continues.  Not everyone we love dies.  We can mitigate our risk by taking the appropriate steps. 

 

There are stages to grief.  

The stages of grief are not linear and may not happen in order.  

There is denial: This virus won’t affect us

There is anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities, livelihood and church!

There is bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? 

There is sadness: I don’t know when this will end. 

There is meaning:  I appreciate my daily walks and time with my family.  

There is acceptance. This is happening.  I have to figure out how to proceed. Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies.  I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually.

 

Anxiety is real and can be paralyzing.   

If you are having a moment of anxiety become mindful of your surroundings.  It might sound silly, but name 5 things in the room.  There’s a computer, a chair, a picture of the dog, an old rug, and a coffee mug. It’s that simple. Breathe deep and recognize that you are not sick, you have food, you are okay.  Let go of what you cannot control and manage what you can, which includes turning off fake news and social media.  

 

There is power in being real.  

No one has ever gone through anything like this before.  Never!  This is the first time in history that all 50 states have been declared disaster areas.  Telling someone that you are having a hard time, or that you cried last night and don't know why, is perfectly normal.  It is vital that we acknowledge what we are going through.  We tell ourselves things like, I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that. Other people have it worse.  STOP at the first feeling. I feel sad.  When we allow ourselves to feel, it empowers us and we are no longer victim to the circumstance. 

 

All Christians struggle.  However, we rest in knowing that God promises to provide for His people. We walk alongside one another as we face times of uncertainty, acknowledging that the peace surpassing our human understanding comes from Jesus (Philippians 4:7). 

 

If you need help, please reach out.  Our Savior Grace Ministers, Pastor's and staff are here to connect you to available resources.  You are a beloved child of God, and with His help, we most assuredly will see our new normal soon.  

 

Church Office (816) 335-4049

www.oursaviorchurch.net