16 Apr 17 Totally Normal Things to Feel Right Now, According to Therapists
Feeling happy? Great.
Not finding any happiness at the moment? Fine.
Happiness; sadness; anxious; grieving … these are all normal emotions. It’s OK to be OK and it’s OK not to be OK…
via Self by Anna Borges
In every virtual therapy session I’ve had since the new coronavirus crisis upended my life, I’ve opened with some iteration of, “I don’t even know what to talk about today. I’m feeling 6 million different things.” Each new session, I bring with me the baggage of a week that felt like a year. How can I decide between talking about how lonely I feel in isolation and how stressed I am about my family and how guilty I feel about falling behind at work and how hopeless I feel about American politics and…well, you get the idea.
On top of my sheer amount of feelings, I also often find myself dissecting them: Is it normal that I’m feeling X? Does it make me a bad person to think Y? Luckily, my therapist always assures me not only that my feelings are valid, but that she’s hearing similar sentiments from other clients right now too. And though knowing my feelings are kind of universal doesn’t solve my problems, there is some comfort in knowing that other people are also going through it.
Because I didn’t want to keep that revelation confined to my own therapy sessions, I asked therapists and other mental health professionals (over the phone and via email) what feelings and worries are coming up a lot in their sessions with clients right now. If you’re dealing with any of the following emotional experiences, more people than you might think can probably relate—and it is 100% valid.
1. You’re burned out.
If you’re currently sheltering in place and not, say, working a demanding job as an essential worker, you might not have considered the possibility of burnout right now. But even for those of us in a relatively safe position, burnout is a natural consequence of the pandemic. “Burnout is the result of pouring more energy out than you’re taking in,” Ryan Howes, Ph.D., tells SELF.
Think about it: Every aspect of adjusting to a “new normal” demands energy from you, whether that’s the bandwidth you’re expending keeping up on the news or the weird learning curve of doing your job remotely. Meanwhile, so many of the ways we typically recharge are off the table right now: seeing friends, hitting up happy hour, going to the gym, or whatever self-care activity of yours that the pandemic has derailed. “There are so many more things draining us than things fortifying us right now,” says Howes. “That’s a recipe for burnout right there.”
2. You’re angry.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that there are a lot of things to be angry about right now, whether you’re frustrated at people who aren’t taking this seriously enough or have a lot of feelings about how the pandemic is being handled on a structural level. Therapists are hearing all this and more, especially from essential workers stuck in impossible situations without the support they need.
“While many know that they are needed as health care workers and want to serve, they may also feel anger [because] they do not have the proper equipment to safely do their job or resources for their clients,” Chante’ Gamby, L.C.S.W., tells SELF.
3. You’re…surprisingly calm.
With all this focus on looking after your mental health and coping with anxiety during the pandemic, it might feel weird to be doing, well, pretty okay. But according to multiple therapists I talked to, a sense of calm is a pretty common reaction. It might be out of avoidance or because the new coronavirus feels “out of sight, out of mind,” but it could also be a direct sign that you’re more equipped to deal with all this than you thought.
“I have found that clients who were dealing with major stressors beforehand or already in therapy for anxiety-related concerns are utilizing the skills they have learned to cope with the change,” LaQuista Erinna, L.C.S.W., tells SELF.
Similarly, your past experiences might have trained you to act calm in crisis. “Some of my clients are actually feeling an unexpected sense of ‘calm’ amid the chaos, which can sometimes be the result of adverse childhood experiences where clients have become accustomed to unstable environments,” Siobhan D. Flowers, Ph.D., tells SELF.
4. You’re spiraling about what might happen.
The uncertainty of the pandemic—and the long-term impact it will have on both a personal level and a larger scale—is one of the most common themes the therapists I talked to have come across in their work. That should come as no surprise to anyone going through a ton of anxiety right now; there is just so much we can’t predict.
“Anxiety rises due to the fear of the unknown, and right now, many things are not known,” Myisha Jackson, L.P.C., tells SELF. “I have been hearing people worrying about running out of food or supplies. People are afraid that they will lose their homes or cars due to being out of work.” The list goes on. The important part to remember is that most people are grappling with uncertainty right now, and it’s normal to feel terrified.
“We likely will not experience the long-term effects of COVID-19 for quite some time as we do not have a blueprint to follow for how this will all unfold,” says Flowers.
5. You’re struggling with working from home.
If your employer is piling on more work and meetings, leaving your work-life balance in the toilet, you’re not alone. Transitioning from a typical work setup to working from home has caused a lot of stress, angst, and frustration for a ton of people.
“Clients are tethered to their computers now more than ever, listening out for the ‘pings’ from email notifications and hurriedly responding to every inquiry, request, or assignment,” Gena Golden, L.C.S.W., tells SELF. “Some have noted fear and anxiety about taking breaks for lunch or restroom breaks for fear that their supervisor will reach out to them and they will not be there to respond within minutes.”
6. You’re mourning canceled events.
There’s no denying that the pandemic completely disrupted life as we know it, forcing a lot of people to miss out on experiences they’d been looking forward to for a long time. “Clients are mourning their important events such as birthdays, upcoming retirement, canceled wedding plans, and their children’s graduation,” says Erinna.
Same goes for important career events, proms, vacations, anniversaries, or anything that the new coronavirus has demolished in its path. A lot of people feel guilty for caring when these things can seem small in comparison to many other consequences of COVID-19, but don’t beat yourself up. It’s totally natural to be sad, angry, annoyed, and disappointed, no matter what else is going on…
… keep reading the full & original article HERE