I feel so tired but I’m not doing anything to make me tired.
I have trouble sleeping and I am just dragging myself out of bed.
I have lost all my enthusiasm for everything.
I have no energy. I just can’t be bothered doing anything.
If you have thought any of these then you may be grieving. Did you know that grief is the natural reaction to loss – we have all experienced loss over the last few months. We have lost that feeling of ‘normal’, ‘safety’ and ‘how things used to be!’ And the scary thing is – we have no idea when it will end and what the world will look like in six months’ time.
Grief consists of a number of reactions which are all normal and expected during the grieving process. These reactions, often called the “Five Stages of grief”, were first described by Kubler-Ross (1969) , and include;
- Denial – “I’ll be all right”, “it isn’t really affecting me” and “I don’t need to worry, it’s not that bad”
- Anger – “it isn’t fair”, “why is this happening to me” and “why isn’t …. fixing it?”
- Depression – “I can’t get out of bed”, “I feel sad all the time” and “When will this end?”
- Bargaining – “please God – if I promise to … make it go away” or “I promise that I will do what needs to be done if you give me …”
- Acceptance – “this is my new reality – I need to learn how to get on with my life in this new world”
The hardest thing can be to realise that grieving is normal and we may have little or no control over what is happening in the world around us. Some of you have lost a lot and it might feel like there is no end in sight.
For the foreseeable future, this is our new “normal” whether we like it or not. Some of us have been dragged, kicking and screaming into this new reality of quarantine, social distancing, financial and economic downturns and fear.
The first thing you can do for yourself is to acknowledge your grief and then accept whatever feelings you have! Tell yourself that these are a normal response to your loss. If you are able, go outside and take a walk. Set up a routine that includes the things you need to do as well as the things you love doing. Cut yourself some slack and let go of the need to be perfect. Reach out to others – whether by phone, the internet or talking over the fence or balcony to your neighbours. And remember – we are all in this together.
Kubler-Ross, E. 1969 On death and dying. New York: The Macmillan Company