All around me I see people trying to go on with their lives in the midst of a devastating pandemic. Trying to do the things that make them happy, trying to socialize from 6 feet apart behind a mask. Yet it's not working. We are too hard on ourselves. Many of my clients have a visceral frustration right now - but I'm going running and eating healthy and talking to friends and I still, I just want to sit at home and watch reruns of my favorite tv shows. I'm doing all the things I should be doing, but I still feel crappy. I still have a hard time falling asleep. I still don't feel motivated to write poetry or paint. I still feel anxious.
And I say to them, of course. Of course you're struggling. How could you not be?
The simplest yet most powerful intervention in therapy is validation. You are struggling right now because WE are struggling right now. You are struggling right now because you are a member of a nation experiencing extreme strife. You are struggling right now because we are at war and the casualties are staggering.
And you are not being validated. You are not being welcomed into a society with resolve and determination to do what is necessary to win this war. Your suffering is marginalized every time a politician downplays the threat of Covid, every time someone walks by you without wearing a mask.
As of this writing Covid has killed 190,000 Americans in five months. That is 5 times the number of Americans killed in the Korean War, over 3 times the number in Vietnam, almost twice as many as WWI, and half of the US deaths from WWII. Don't tell me we are not at war.
You shouldn't be okay right now. I am not okay right now. WE are not okay right now. Our task is not to flourish and blossom, our task is to tend to our needs. Our task is to be kind to ourselves, to bring forth compassion and patience and love to allow ourselves to be okay not being okay.
Acceptance does not mean condoning what is happening. Acceptance does not mean agreeing with what is happening. Acceptance means being honest with what is happening. You have my full permission to not be okay. Now go take care of yourself.