It is no surprise that many therapists are experiencing rising numbers of enquiries at the moment, or that clients are in increasing degrees of distress. The last twelve months have been outside of any of our previous experiences. While each of our individual circumstances are different, what we share is the collective energy field of which we are all a part. There is so much pain and distress therein, it cannot not touch us all to some degree. Add to this the individual losses we are experiencing, of loved ones, of in person relating, of leisure pursuits, of places to go, of work or work locations, of children being at school, of exercise options, of travel...and it is no wonder that mental health is suffering.
It’s important to acknowledge alongside this the many transformations and good things that people have experienced from the enforced change in lifestyle. I hear of them on a day to day basis, and they are many, and varied. Changes of perspective, new found space, increased introspection and reflection, decisions about work, home, family, stories of communities pulling together, of heroic public service, indeed, there is much to reflect on hopefully.
And yet, this does not take away from the deep sadness, the fear, the frustration, the anger and all the other emotions that are natural responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Yes, others may have it worse than any one of our personal circumstances; but, your experience matters. It is valid, and it is important. It’s important to acknowledge it, to fully feel it, and to find peace with it. We each need to find the right time for us to do this crucial work, and do it we must. Not to do so builds up problems for the future.
We humans are social animals. We do not operate or exist in a vacuum, we are in relationship at many levels and in a variety of ways. Now more than ever we can tune in to those we know and those we love, and support each other in managing the impacts of what is arising. Just as we need to acknowledge and make space for our own pain, we can support others in doing likewise, for that endevour will help not only their health but also our own.
I was humbled to see in my local Parish Magazine this last month a list of names and phone numbers for people volunteering to befriend, and to listen, to reach out to those who may be lonely and fearful. I feel blessed to live in a community where this is freely offered. It puts me in mind of the need to have open hands and open hearts to those I can help too, it’s inspiring.
Sending heartfelt good wishes to all in this challenging time.