By George Soto:
But whenever I talk about painful stages, I must remind people that the stages are not linear and may not happen in sequence. Everyone will have different degrees of fear and pain and show them in different ways.
One point of emphasis is that this pandemic is real. Personally, most recently, I have over 15 family members afflicted with 5 mortalities. The main reason was due to impoverished nations like Venezuela and the Philippines. I tried to support them thru their medical expenses, but some were not able to survive the onslaught of this virus.
Many countries wish they had the availability of the covid vaccines to protect themselves from this virus extreme sickness. I personally have suffered the loss of my wife’s friends and family members. I feel the pain and sorrow these families are suffering. So, we must be able to express our pain and go through the steps of grieving.
Talking about grief openly may be fragile, but it is no secret that death and loss are extremely destructive. For you, grief is a normal response to loss, but the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of the normal grief process. Grief is a natural response to loss, and the feeling of loss may increase during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Pain is a normal and natural process after a loss but overcoming it can be very painful.
What we commonly refer to as pain can feel like a giant bruise, gentle to the touch, and is often followed by a bundle of poignant emotions such as sadness, longing, and anxiety. Pain can be emotionally overwhelming, which can motivate us to avoid strong feelings. While grief is a normal response to loss, for some people it can last and can coincide with traumatic experiences and reactions.
The pandemic has increased the incidence of mood and anxiety disorders and substance abuse, all of which put people at greater risk of long-term bereavement disorder. Shire notes that other pandemic stresses, from financial problems to health and safety issues, can make it difficult to adapt to loss as they distract people from processing. Since COVID deaths are disproportionately high among low-income communities and people of color, prolonged pain is likely to have a disproportionate impact on these groups, Shire and other therapists say. But the number of people of color who can suffer from long-term loss is likely to be high due to the disproportionate impact of COVID on their communities.
If this number is true for COVID-19 deaths, the impact of dysfunctional loss could be significant. With half a million deaths from COVID, or 4.5 million people in mourning and possibly 450,000 people with long-term or bereavement. While dealing with grief is already challenging, a study by Curtin University in Australia found that people mourning a loved one who died from COVID-19 experienced more psychological symptoms than those who died before the pandemic or from natural causes.
The goal of bereavement counseling is not to get rid of feelings, but to learn how to deal with feelings. Pain expert David Kessler said that pain is more of a sensation that we have to deal with. In an interview with HBR, he explained how the classic five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance) are applied, and the practical steps we can take to deal with anxiety. Sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management are essential to relieve pain.
For all these reasons, it is important to learn self-help strategies and get the help you need to help deal with this situation. However, many daily challenges (such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) can motivate you to deal with these challenges. You may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, whether you will be unemployed, and what will happen in the future.
You may also consider joining an online grieving support group, getting one-to-one counseling, or contacting a hotline to help you during this difficult time. Make a virtual appointment with your pain reliever, especially if you feel depressed or have little support. Call or use social media to connect with a close friend or loved one, even if you may find it difficult to talk about your feelings.
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