I have been thinking recently about the strain that the Covid Pandemic is placing on us all. I have noticed through personal reflection and discussion with others that our response to Covid has flowed like a wave over the course of the year. Although, there has been individual patterns, I think there has been an over arching former too. Last March, after an initial shock there was wonderful weather and opportunities to be outside, to slow down and appreciate our loved ones and the possibility of a slower pace and new interests and activities. There was then a laguna over the summer, a break in the pressure and relative normal living until the autumn when ramped up infections led to a crisis around Christmas and a new extended lock down. This second major lock down has felt qualitatively different, the days were short and dark, it seemed to rain continuously, and we had all run out of energy and enthusiasm, a friend of mine said passionately “I’m fed up counting my blessings” which felt like a heart felt summation of our current state. I, myself wrote in January about how the lack of human contact and constant zoom meetings had left me exhausted. Now we seem to be in are in an indeterminate place, walking out of lock down, following a map. The better weather, the promise of halcyon days and even holidays could see us charging brightly forward without asking about the impact of the last year. I think we can say we have all been through trauma, an extended event with a threat of significant harm and death to ourselves and lour oved ones which has changed us, the way we think, feel, and relate, our values, what is important to us.
I was presenting at a conference to children’s health professionals recently. Towards the end was a plenary space and the chair asked everyone how they were and there was a slew of I’m fine and thumbs up so I just said that actually I had been finding things really tough and that I had been more exhausted then I ever had been in my life. In response there was a flood of responses, people saying they had not seen close family for months, that they were exhausted, that they were worried about their and their family’s health. Similarly, at a recent event for those in foster care a social worker talked about the difficulties of working at home and feeling a lack of separateness and staring at the cobwebs in her home as she tried to concentrate on being present for others. In both these situations I queried how people might get their needs met and their seemed some hesitancy in this. I think this is a real dilemma, to some extent we have to keep on keeping on, and perhaps it is too difficult to be overly in touch with the impact of the tragedy of the last year when we continue to have to deal with it. However, as the days get warmer and the risk diminishes I would put in a plea for a period of reflection and grieving, a marking of the reality of our losses, sacrifices and strain as part of us all moving forward together.
Trauma creates change you don’t choose,
Healing is about creating change you do choose. Michelle Rosenthal
Dr Jane Herd is a national and international speaker, writer and consultant. She offers individual and organisational consultation in respect of personal and professional development, reflective spaces, and managing stress and challenge email@example.com