2020 04 20 02

So….How are we coping...

in the pandemic?

I thought about all the sage advice that is being put out there…mindfulness, setting goals, using this time to re-evaluate your life, and spending quality time with our family, among many other good suggestions out there. This is a time of incredible uncertainty, a time of grappling with parts of ourselves that tap us on the shoulder every now and then or...  

tug on the bottom of our stomachs. We feel anxious and we become aware of the daunting nature of this pandemic. A myriad of thoughts cascade through our minds, experienced throughout every aspect of our bodies, minds and souls. We are left with feelings of confusion and immense unpredictability. Where are we going to be in six months’ time, never mind a year? How will the future be for my children? How will I sustain myself, or will I still have a job? The world will be a very different place a year from now, that we know. But so much stays unpredictable. So, how do we cope with this unpredicatability. The expression of this uncertainty will certainly find an expression as an increase in mental health issues, never mind physical problems as we hold the stress in our bodies. As I was pondering this issue after I concluded my Jungian Analytic study weekend over Zoom , I called my brother living in Australia. He is an extrovert, unlike me. The discussion brought up a few thoughts and feelings about this issue. He was telling me how they are having Zoom dinners and drinks with other couples, and telling me how important is for hime to keep socialising. I think many people have had such busy lives that they have used communication devices as ways of quickly connecting and information sharing, but not in ways that carry intrinsic meaning. In fact, I believe our children will be the ones that will be able to use technology in a normalised and more healthy way, to connect and form relationships, but also not feel consumed by it. I am certainly learning to use technology in a ‘natural’ way. I will be using it to have dinner with friends, have a quick drink with a friend, chat to my mother, do my therapy sessions and earn a living, and have my own therapy. I think it is important to create connection to the people that we trust and feel emotionally close to, therefore maintain the skills and ways of social connection. We are social beings, attachment based and needing to feel connected to the internal world of another human being. We need to feel ‘known’ by others.

Uncertainty is a killer. It fills one with fear and anxiety, and makes a person look outside for the threat and the answers. There is no way of controlling the things around you. This pandemic wakes us up to the ultimate lack of control over the things outside of us. We can only control the aspects inside of us. We may only become aware of our internal world and the emotions and thoughts that permeate our being. We may only become observers and sometimes participants in the world inside, our thoughts, emotions and deeper longings. For us to become participants and begin to integrate these feelings and experiences of uncertainty we need to tolerate the uncertainty. In tolerating the uncertainty, we embrace the anxiety and unknown, but we choose to anchor ourselves in those aspects inside of us that give us meaning. We Zoom and have drinks with a friend, we have dinner with family, and we connect to the people we love, so we feel a connection to somebody else that reflects something in ourselves. We centre ourselves by keeping the awareness of our emotions, our fears, our thoughts. We do things not to fill time and anxiety, and avoiding the uncomfortable emotions. We do things that make sense to us, to reflect a renewed and honest approach to the things that give us joy and meaning, not make us focus on our fears and anxieties. Now make a date for yourself and let the uncertainty rest in its own container, stay aware of it , but connect to your own joys and emotions.