Lock down lull was in fuIl swing for the entire nation, just a matter of weeks ago. But, all of a sudden everyone’s temporary grief is now navigating toward a new form of norm. But not us. Back in enforced lock down, I’m feeling bereaved. And it’s so dumb, so pointlessly pointless to feel so low! But my positivity pants are well and truly sagging I’m in a full on, lockdown lull and it hurts, like the worst grief ever!
Grief is the feeling of intense sorrow. Usually, in society it centres around death. We feel it when someone gets a terminal diagnosis or when we lose a loved one. Anticipatory grief takes that feeling of loss and anxiety one step further with imagined futures. Intrusive thoughts that focus on the possibility of a storm, a rough ride or an eventual loss. This form of grief can easily turn to anxiety, especially if actual events occur that reaffirm our fears.
During stage one of lockdown we all felt this anxiety and bereavement. In our individual ships we collectively weathered the storm as an entire nation we took on the rough seas of Covid-19.
But in those early days I managed to sail clear of the collective dip in metal health. I’m ashamed to say it but, I felt quite (silently) smug. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t living my best life, but I coped. I counted my weeks down and stayed focussed. Then, last week I just plummeted. Like, full on face planted the concrete.
I took the reenforced lockdown of Leicester personally. Like only I live in this city. As if this were my own personal form of punishment. Luckily mid, internal tantrum I caught sight of myself imploding in the mirror and felt like an absolute arsehole! I’m not hungry, homeless or unemployed, what right do I have to feel so sad? But I did, and it honestly hurt. My heart felt so heavy and sore. My motivation non existent, I felt like I was running on fumes.
Honestly I felt a little disappointed in myself, that I had lulled myself into the idea that I, we, were fine! Because stepping back and looking over my shoulder I can see the overwhelming sense of loss didn’t happen in one heavy blow. It actually wasn’t a full on slap to the face. The loss had been growing, ever so slightly from day one of Lockdown. Like a hair or piece of fluff on my face that I just couldn’t, quite brush off. Not exactly a full blown meh feeling, more an ever enhancing eh feeling. A weirdly familiar, lack of motivation slowly fuzzing over me. Like a pre-storm calm, an almost nothingness. A total lockdown lull. My version of survival mode being to switch off and go into auto-pilot.
A friend exclaimed.
“You’re feeling a sense of loss, we all are! It’s just now you feel everyone else is moving on, while you’re still stuck in lockdown limbo.”
And at that moment I realised why this felt so familiar. This was grief! I’d felt this way before, the last time I miscarried. That sense of bereavement of something intangible, losing someone you had never met. The dissipation of hopes and possibilities and the left over shells (of what could have been). Tip toeing as everyone else just carried on. I went into isolation then to.
Maybe that was why those first weeks felt so comfortable and normal. I’d already mapped out this voyage, I’d been here before. The only difference then was that, that lockdown wasn’t enforced, it had been self-prescribed. I was able (back then) to slowly re-emerge/reconnect in my own time. Where as this, this felt over powering. Bigger than me. Like a child being frog marched to the head’s office, by the scruff of their neck.
The third stage of grief is anger and the fourth depression. Acknowledging grief at this stage can be hugely soothing. As the only steps left are; 5: Upward turn, 6:Reconstruction and working through, 7: Acceptance and hope. Hope maybe, that if I had been here before, then I knew my way back!
So, today as I traverse through the complexities of lockdown, I’m combating my grief by practising gratitude. Feeling grateful for my coffee, my home, my family, my life, for experience and even my loss. Because this will pass and just maybe the days to come will feel brighter because of those darker, stormier days.
Be kind to yourself,