Each one of us has lost so much as a result of living through the first pandemic of our lifetimes. And the list of losses continues to grow every week, it seems.
In this country, the under-estimated death toll from Covid-19 is almost a million people.
And it isn’t the pandemic alone that’s piling up our losses. Additionally, the climate crisis is already hitting us hard, the Covid pandemic isn’t over, mass shootings are never-ending.
Furthermore, we’re being forced to face this country’s underbelly of tragic individual and collective traumas. The truth is that democracy itself appears to be cracking under the strain of unacknowledged racism, social injustice and a firmly entrenched power-over model that’s catalyzing an outrageous have/have-not schism.
What’s Ambiguous Loss?
There’s a type of loss called “ambiguous loss,” first talked about by Dr. Pauline Boss. I’m reading her new book, which is called The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change.
Dr. Boss explains that ambiguous loss is a universal phenomenon, everyone experiences it. There are many different kinds, “from catastrophic (like the 2020 pandemic) to more common and everyday separations from breakups, divorces, adoptions, or leaving home due to immigration and migration”.
Living through a pandemic can result in a multitude of ambiguous losses. And the same is true for what’s happening with the climate, as well as with the global political situation.
Therefore, with such a violent collision of losses and sorrows, it isn’t possible to simply breathe away our pain and grief.
So what do we do?! How do we handle all of this without falling down the rabbit hole of terrible despair and depression and overwhelming anxiety?
Coping Strategies for Holding the Unbearable
To begin, we learn how to hold the unbearable, starting with acknowledging that what we’re living through is unprecedented, overwhelming, and crazy-making.
There’s nothing wrong with you.
Next, we allow ourselves to feel our feelings without drowning in them. Deep sadness, sky-high anxiety, terrible loneliness, unremitting outrage … yes! Let yourself be honest about how you’re feeling — not to get stuck in unhealthy rage or clinical anxiety or depression; of course not. Rather, to tell yourself the truth. It’s a total game-changer.
Then, we learn to let go of what no longer is. We learn to release our death grip on ways of thinking and living that aren’t possible, at least right now. Process journaling, “Morning Pages” from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a little diary of feelings — writing it down is a powerful way to externalize and release pent-up emotions.
Finally, it’s time to begin releasing what we can no longer hold, to begin letting go, grieving our losses even as we continue to live them.
We’re going to be walking the path of ambiguous loss for quite a while; for some of us, perhaps the rest of our lives.
Knowledge and understanding help us make meaning of the unimaginable. In doing the seemingly small actions I’ve shared with you here, you can begin to accept how it is: how you feel, what you’re mourning, what terrifies you, what brings a soft smile of joy.
How the Santa Fe Therapist Can Help
And remember, we’re all in this together. If you’re confused, or unsure about anything, you can schedule a free 15-minute consult with me. Just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll talk about what’s going on.
Sending so much love to you (and a little bit of organic dark chocolate),
How to Get Grief Counseling in Santa Fe, NM
You don’t have to struggle alone anymore with feeling overwhelmed, sad, full of despair and hopeless, too restless to be quiet and calm, or sleepless nights.
Grief counseling can make a world of positive difference in your life. When you reach out for help, you’re making an investment in yourself that can change in your life in the best of ways.
All you have to do is send me an email to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: email@example.com. Let’s get you feeling better as quickly as possible.
The Santa Fe Therapist Offers Online Counseling in New Mexico
Online therapy helps sad and lonely women find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques to cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future.
I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for clients every week. Click here if you’ve got questions about online therapy.
Online counseling from anywhere in New Mexico, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Los Alamos, Pecos, Las Vegas, Tesuque and El Dorado.
Other Services From The Santa Fe Therapist
The Santa Fe Therapist specializes in several areas of health, wellbeing, healing and recovery. I know that one size never fits all. My services are individualized to each client, and are based on your values, your needs and desires, and your goals.
I offer individual adult counseling and guidance in Santa Fe NM for: