Upset, Exhausted, or Anxious? It Could Be Grief
You don’t have to experience a loss to grieve. Here’s how to get back on track.
November 22, 2020
Have you recently felt anxiety, guilt, exhaustion, or disbelief over what’s happening around you? There are many stressors right now. The number of COVID-19 deaths alone is immense and hard to process. On top of this, the news exposes us to stories of others’ pain, which can cause something called “secondary trauma.”
“We are empathic beings,” said McLean’s chaplain, Rev. Angelika A. Zollfrank, MDiv, BCC. “When we are aware that another human has died or is suffering, it touches us. We can’t help it.”
Zollfrank has observed these waves of anguish and discomfort crashing against our shores since the pandemic began. “While we are dealing with an increase of COVID cases, there is also a general feeling of upset,” Zollfrank said. “It leaves people feeling exhausted. It may not be clear what we’re feeling, but whenever we’re off our game a little, it might be a great moment to ask, ‘Is it possible I’m grieving something?’”
Loss of a Loved One
Those who have lost someone to COVID-19 have had more difficulty finding support than they would have pre-pandemic.
Even mourning has changed: People are careful about stopping by to express condolences; they may call or send an email instead. The experience is not the same as walking over to neighbors and hugging them or bringing a casserole dish and sitting with them for half an hour.