Emotional Wellbeing, Mental Health, Social, Well Being

For over three months we have all been on a strange and worrying journey. From the initial shock in March, when whispers of a disease circulating built into a cacophony of daily blows to our sense of security, and our sense of control. We listened as mass media focused on what captivates us, things that our unconscious tunes into as a primal response to keep us safe – the clear and present danger. We are intrigued by detail in situations where we are without a solid base of information to rely on to steady the ship. This left us exposed to long periods of news and internet consumption that became punitive after we had caught up on what was going on. We breakdown information with our cognitive bias at play – we catastrophize, we enter knee jerk decision making, we intellectualize, we freeze… To quote Seamus Heaney; “We winter this one out”. This means we take on the fear, the uncertainty and the immense difficulties that come with them – they remain squarely on our shoulders as we are in a survival mode, waiting for the end. Hoping for the end. Weary from information overload and frayed from the quick and severe restricting of life as we knew it, left to manage the real losses and consequences of the missile strike of the pandemic, we now enter into our new reality, with not much time to adjust. But adjust we will. We have an ability to habituate incredibly quickly in times of crises. These adjustments show our brilliant and caring nature, as we sacrifice life as we knew it less than four months ago in place of a new system, by design intended to keep one another safe and healthy. To give each other peace of mind. It is in our nature to consider the other, to ensure the other is looked after and it is far more accessible for us to ensure others are okay, than it is for us to check in on the same for ourselves. Am I okay, what do I need, what am I experiencing? There is a skill in turning our good nature inwards on ourselves, becoming our own carer and showing the same compassion and empathy for ourselves as we can do for others. There is a power in understanding what this feels like, to be a source of soothing for yourself so you can tap into it as a resource, making contact with your internal world so you can process your emotional content and not become a container for all of the affect you would have experienced over the last three months or maybe longer. Reflection and consideration at an experiental level are not things the majority of us do routinely – we can spend a lot of time in our heads interacting with the symptoms of what underlies our fear, our anxiety and our concerns.  Where we do not give ourselves this space, time, and consideration we might see mood and behavioural changes that are offshoots of the impact of the emotional experience of lockdown and beyond. These symptoms of emotional upheaval can create their own issues, in relationship and in other places in our lives. We can seek out soothing in many maladaptive and destructive ways when we feel at sea in this new paradigm.  The world itself has become a place of an ever-present double bind – conflicting messages that can contribute to feelings of guilt or wrong-doing over actions that were simply parts of a daily routine in February. The subtext to these messages is an ominous one, our decisions are now more burdensome and meaningful. We carry this new responsibility with a sense of hypervigilance, a state that can exhaust us very quickly if we are not vigilant for our own self-care. Our lives are a delicate balance of doing what we need to do for ourselves and our own mental wellbeing and doing what is right for the collective by sacrificing parts of our own lives. Our choices are more frequently now part of something bigger. We are going through something unexpected – we have experienced a lot. It is now time to make sure that as we move forward in caring and consideration for one another, we make a firm commitment to ourselves, if we need to, to look after our own needs, and our own emotional wellbeing. We do this so the way forward is not congested by the trauma of lock down and the experience of the pandemic, and these experiences can contribute to growth and building resilience as most emotional adversity does in the normal course of life. We do it also so we are not left overwhelmed down the line from not stopping and considering what has just happened to us and understanding the impact it has had on us all.  Practitioners at Remedy Clinic are experienced in dealing with emotional upheaval, life transitions and trauma – If you need help with anything you’ve been through or are going through, we are here when you need us info@remedyclinic.ie

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