You’re not crazy. You’re living in crazy times.

We’re all figuring out how to function in a slightly cuckoo world

Exhibit A

1. “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” (Brené Brown)

I miss group dinners and seeing friends in real life and hugging them. I miss hanging out in someone’s living room and hearing friends laugh (not over FaceTime or house party but in real life).

“We’re going to have to find a way to settle into this rhythm. The only way I can think about it is we have to grieve the loss of normal. At the exact same time, we’re trying to find our footing in a new normal.”

We are in the middle of the transition and we know we’re on volatile ground. Everyone has opinions and predictions and projections but nobody knows for sure how this will all land once the dust settles.

Exhibit B

2. “Ambiguous loss… prevents resolution of the loss, and freezes the grief process.” (Dr Pauline Boss)

There were things I was really looking forward to before life got cancelled: seeing my family over Easter, a trip to the Alps, a potential hike in Scotland with one of my best friends. These days, I miss being able to make plans, especially without wondering if they’re futile.

“Ambiguous loss is an unclear loss that continues without resolution or closure. It is a relational rupture that can be physical or psychological.”

While she coined the term in her interdisciplinary study of family stress, it could also apply here. There was the world before coronavirus, and there will be a different world afterwards. There is a gap between the two.

“The first step of thawing grief is to tell the story of your loss to safe and empathic people you trust. Sorrow needs to speak.” (Mary Anne Cohen)

Somewhere in the future, there will be holidays and hikes again. Someday, we’ll place our order with a waiter, say good morning to our colleagues, sing happy birthday, gather in person; but for now, we can only acknowledge that we miss those things and wait for this all to pass.

A beautiful video (which made me homesick for NZ) by Visit Auckland

3. “Denial is the first of the five stages of grief™️. It helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial.” (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler)

Grief itself is a process, with five stages: “denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework”, according to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler.

For now, what I took away from the ideas is this: we’re not crazy. We’ve living in crazy times.

Maybe the thing we’re trying to run away from — the fact that we’re in this totally insane situation — is a logical reason for feeling insane. Perhaps what’s causing us to feel off-kilter is the ambiguous loss of things that matter to us, which we need to let ourselves grieve in order to move on.

Exhibit C

Writing stories (www.adelebarlow.com) and helping companies tell theirs (www.copyand.co)