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  • Writer's pictureChristine MacInnis, LMFT

Stages of Covid-19- Why Grief is Essential Right Now

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

I have been noting that the processing a global #pandemic for most of us is the same experience and it is much like Kubler-Ross' model of stages of grief. At first we were in denial and didn't want to believe it could happen here in the US. And I think some of us are still here and are refusing to listen to recommendations like social distancing in order to protect the belief that this is not a big deal. It is my hope that with the continued information and legalization of stay home orders this will start to change for the safety of us all. This is not a healthy stage at which to stay stuck right now, especially in this case, because it could lead to harmful behaviors that endanger everyone. And it keeps us from the next stage which is where we all need to go to start to heal.

Since my home state of #California's response was so dramatic and quick, many of us who live here have entered into a period of deep mourning and grief. Denial was so last week. We are slowly realizing that this is our new normal. We recognize that we can't dart off to Target for a hour of needless shopping. Our kids have been told school is over, kaput and online for the remainder of the year. Anyone who had a milestone year of promotion or #graduation, must accept that they will lose out on major life events that mark the passage of time. Those of us that have careers that rely on social interaction and non essential activities from movie actors to hair stylists, are out of work and feeling disconnected from what gave them purpose and drive. And to the poor folks who live alone and who rely on outside relationships for physical touch are craving a hug every day. It is a total and complete change in our way of life for now.

Accepting this is #grieving. We are all in a state of #mourning and loss. And for some that is bigger than others. Some may find themselves in such a deep state of despair that they need mental health resources like therapy. Some may become manic and start creating a myriad of projects to keep busy and in control. Some may even shut down completely and not engage at all. There will be as many responses to this global grief as their are humans and personalities. But it is necessary and needs to happen. Why do you ask?

Because going back to #Kubler-Ross' stages of grief model, we must progress to the next stage in order to heal. And after we go through this stage of #grief, as long or as short as that process takes for each of us, we will get to the next stage in this #Covid-19 mental health response. And the next stage, will be growth. We will be finding new ways to connect and keep connected. Someone will invent new ways to provide #support and care to those who are living alone. Innovation will occur because when faced with situations that we can't control, we find new ways to approach them to adapt. We will create, dream and change.

So find your space to grieve. It is very much needed right now. You will hear from others to find the silver lining, look for the hidden messages, view our healing earth as a sign, and other ways to divert this grief. Because let's face it, grieving is not fun and makes others around us uncomfortable. But we need the space to do it. Because if there is anything I have learned as a therapist and counselor, it is we need to acknowledge how we feel to make room for new feelings to emerge.

Grieve today and you will grow tomorrow.

Stay healthy all!

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