Editor’s Note: Transform Through Therapy specializes in online group therapy, with a special focus on grief and caregiving. In this series, they will be talking about how COVID-19 and the impact it is having on mental health.
The COVID-19 scare is about much more than toilet paper. Well, actually, toilet paper — or rather, the fact that no one feels like they can spare a square — is a good representation of the bigger picture.
The pandemic that is sweeping across the entire globe is wreaking havoc on the healthcare system, businesses, schools and even 5-year-olds’ birthday parties. On a truly serious note, people are losing loved ones to the coronavirus, and because of quarantine, those people are dying alone. People are losing their livelihoods as businesses are forced to temporarily close.
But what else are we losing to COVID-19? It might be your 5:30 a.m. workout at the gym. Maybe it’s brunch at your favorite diner and those delicious lemon-blueberry pancakes. Never has there been a bigger craving for an Orange Julius and that free sample of eye cream from a mall kiosk. Heck, it’s not even guaranteed you’ll be able to get milk and bread at the grocery store. And then there are the milestones like prom, high school graduation, and college commencement ceremonies. No cheers and air horn blasts while walking across a stage. Just an envelope in the mail. And let’s not even start talking about spring break.
What these all have in common is loss. It’s a loss of lifestyle. The things that we take for granted as normal are no longer normal, and all of us are grieving those losses.
Grief can be expressed in all kinds of ways — panic, paranoia, sadness. At the root of these emotions is most likely grief. It can be frightening to think about your local salon not being able to reopen, or your child falling behind in school. And then there is a fear of what else we may lose in the coming days and weeks.
This is all a completely natural reaction. We’re here to tell you that it’s OK to mourn the loss of the small things. It’s what makes us human.
The world as we know it is different. And there are things that may be different forever because of this. And it’s not hard to see that this can take a toll on your mental well-being. COVID-19 isn’t just a physical health crisis, it’s a mental health crisis. And at the base of that is grief.
In this series, we are answering questions that come with this totally new situation we all find ourselves in. Our first is understanding how this is affecting kids — a generation that has never been without Google and is used to instant gratification, and now has no real answers to questions like, “When can I see my friends?,” or “When will this be over?”
In an upcoming video, Michele Bates, founder of Transform Through Therapy, talks through this with her 14-year-old son. In additional articles in the series and their companion videos, we’ll talk more about the stages of grief and address questions we’ve received about communicating with kids and spouses, dealing with addiction, and mental illness in the home, among other topics.
If you have questions you’d like to see answered as part of this series, please email us at at email@example.com.