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Even if nobody talks about it, I can't be the only one, can I?
I've asked myself these words more times than I can count since March when the reality of COVID-19 hit our country. When it was all new, friends and I had numerous discussions about what was going on and how we felt about it, and they helped.
These conversations are rare and widespread these days, even though what we learn is a massively shared experience. I am talking about the sudden bursts of tears caused by something as simple as riding a bike or cooking dinner.
Or lose yourself in our minds like I did earlier today.
Well, I'll admit I'm the girl who cries on Hallmark commercials and movie trailers, but the cause of today's tears is much more intense. And unsettling. It's more than the stress of what's happening in our world.
Today's tears come from deep sadness.
Working at home, being isolated from friends and family takes its toll on most of us, whether we want to admit it or not. And with the fall and flu season approaching, everything in this life is beginning to subside as we knew it was unlikely to return anytime soon, if at all.
We are beginning to see how drastically things will change for those of us in cold climates in the months ahead. Few are returning to their offices this year, and the ability to socialize remotely will be severely limited as the snow starts to fly and temperatures drop. And so many have adopted a new motto: It is what it is. What it is is depressing.
Maybe that's why we spend less time talking about it now. We have come to terms with this changed normal state and how we feel about it. We don't like to admit to being unhappy, and sadness, by definition, is sadness. But when we know the origin of something, we can better understand it, manage it, and eventually go through it.
A change in the seasons often creates conflicting emotions, but everything is amplified by what is happening. People die on the streets, in their homes and alone. In the United States, the pandemic and civil unrest are taking an unimaginable toll on the hearts and souls of our citizens. No wonder we mourn.
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When the death toll rises, the effects of loss of life strike us like a slap in a back alley fight, and just as easily drown in grief when the tears begin to flow.
It's no surprise that these experiences affect our ability to do the things that are most important to our families and ourselves, whether that means working, studying, or spending time together. They throw us off our game and play on our carefully planned schedule (which had no crying listed). This is about knowing that we are not alone and letting others know about it.
Remember, even if nobody sees you cry, you are not the only one.
We cannot deny the emotions that brought our tears to the surface, and we cannot change what is happening in the world around us. The only thing we can change is how we deal with everything that happens.
Compassion for ourselves is an invaluable first step.
Call a friend and start a video chat. Talk about what you are experiencing so that you can better understand it. This is the first step in getting back to doing what is most important in our lives, even if the world around us never returns to what it was before.