Cynthia L. Eppley, MA
In a previous post, I explored the different parts of the Grief Cycle and how we process through it. But I’m feeling pretty lousy, and I don’t know why.
Grief affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is the emotional response to loss. And earlier we discussed just how much loss there is in this Pandemic.
Mourning is the process whereby we work through the loss, regaining a sense of balance and integration in our lives. Mourning is a functional necessity, not a weakness. It is a form of healing. We need to process through our losses. before we can come to acceptance.
The Impact The impact of reality hits. But is this reality? What is reality during a Pandemic? In this stage we are in denial, questioning how this can be happening. It is followed by:
Mild depression We may have a feeling of being “let down.” We may feel the shock of disbelief. Like a death, this may affect us physically and cognitively. We may feel slight disorientation.
Acute Symptoms This is the most difficult adjustment period. The impact of the loss hits with acute symptoms of anxiety and depression.
1. Loss of sleep and overeating. As we lay awake at night, our brains are in overdrive.
And overeating? Just consider how many loaves of bread are being made. And cookies. Food becomes our comfort.
2. Sleep changes. We may want to sleep more than usual. Or we may fall asleep and awaken during the night. We may not want to sleep at all. And this affects our ability to reason and make sound judgements.
3. Weeping. We may find ourselves unusually sensitive and weeping.
4. Fatigue. The fatigue we feel is much more than physical. It is a “bone tired” that doesn’t resolve with sleep. When we wake up in the morning, fatigue greets us like an old friend.
5. Acute mood swings. I may approach the differences in my life with good humor and a light heartedness. But then the impact of changes may crush me down and I fear for the future. I can swing from one axis to another.
6. Decreased ability to concentrate and remember. Many of us may be forgetting what day it is. After all, one day runs into the next, doesn’t it? Without the familiar routine of school, jobs, appointments—we fall into disorganization.
Continued Symptoms As grief and mourning continue, we find ourselves with more symptoms than we’d like:
1. Irritability and complaining. We’d like the imposition on my schedule and lifestyle to stop now. I want to go back to “normal.”
I may recognize that my own situation is not as bad as my neighbor’s. Doing a side glance at how others are suffering does little to relieve my own complaining.
2. Physical and verbal actions out of anger and frustration. We would like to appeal to our better natures, but find ourselves reacting out of anger and frustration. This concern has been noted especially for families where abuse is present.
3. Tears. We are unable to reason with our emotional state.
4. Physical complaints such as headaches, backaches, diarrhea, etc. This is a valid area. The physical aspects of grief and mourning continue into somatic complaints.
5. Depression The loss of community brings more isolation. This is especially significant for singles or those who live alone.
This will be examined more in “How do we Get Through Quarantine?”
We may consider that our current affairs leave us with no hope.
And yet we have a Savior who was well acquainted with grief.
He was a Man of Sorrows and He knows our frame.
Man of Sorrows, what a name For the Son of God who came Ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah! What a Savior!