You’re feeling all the feels these days! Perhaps you were supposed to take a Spring Break trip last week and it got cancelled. Maybe someone you know and love is sick with COVID-19 and it doesn’t seem fair b/c they’re one of the kindest people you know. Or you lost your job through no fault of your own. Now, you’re stuck at home trying to play teacher to your children (something you certainly never signed up for) and all the togetherness is getting a little too….real. You watch the news and can’t believe how some leaders keep dismissing the seriousness of this virus. And you watch it spread. More and more people getting sick. The bottom line? You feel ANGRY.
It’s ok to feel angry.
First let’s start with the fact that it’s OK to feel angry right now. That’s normal. Our whole world has been turned upside down.
And there’s a lot to be angry about. Everywhere you turn there’s something else happening that you never thought you’d see.
The truth is, we don’t know how to feel…so we feel everything at once.
Nobody has ever been through this before. There’s no precedent. We can’t call up our mentor or friend and ask how they dealt with this situation when they went through us last year. And everyone around you is probably responding in a different way. So, you feel conflicting emotions. Some good. Some bad. Maybe even indifferent at times.
And it may come out as anger. Often, when we feel confusing, big feelings it comes out as anger. But here’s the secret….
There’s another emotion hiding under the anger.
That’s the part we don’t always want to acknowledge. As humans, when we’re angry, we want to stay angry. Anger OFTEN feels better than what’s underneath.
But something IS under the anger. That’s just the truth. Anger is a secondary emotion. This means that it is a reaction to another feeling. So….I encourage you to take a closer look at your anger. Instead of fighting it, sit there and examine it closely.
Maybe underneath you feel shame. Perhaps you didn’t take this thing seriously at first. You laughed at the people who were “overreacting.” Or you rolled your eyes when the news kept talking about this virus coming from China.
Maybe underneath you feel sadness. Loss. Grief. That’s what was under the anger I felt at first. I had planned a 3 week trip to Europe for my 10 year wedding anniversary for almost 2 YEARS. We were supposed to take off in March. It would’ve been the first huge trip I’d taken since starting my business 3 years ago and I had prepped my children for this trip. To me, the trip represented special, protected family time. Time when I wouldn’t even have the choice to answer a phone call or e-mail and could focus completely on my family. So…I felt angry when we had to cancel the trip. And about a day later I realized I wasn’t actually angry. I was sad. I was grieving this special trip I had so looked forward to.
Maybe what you feel is fear. True fear. Maybe you know that because of your age, other health complications or any number of factors this virus would be a huge threat to you or a loved one. Or perhaps someone you know IS in the hospital. And you’re worried. The worst part? Nobody can convince you that your worry is misplaced, because this virus truly is scary.
Acknowledging our emotions is the first step forward.
Just by reading this, you’re admitting to yourself that you do in fact feel angry. Hopefully you’re starting to consider what other emotions are there as well. The truth is, that is the first step to coping with our feelings. Acknowledging that they exist.
I’ve found the people often want to avoid their emotions. They stuff it down. But that doesn’t make the anger (or shame/grief/fear/worry) go away. The feelings are still there. You just lose control over when or how they show up!
So….examine your anger. Look at the deeper emotion. Acknowledge it’s there. Because that’s the path forward. And we DO need to keep forward even during this “pause.”
It’s also ok to ask for help.
Support is so critical during this time. For everyone! Your immediate family you live with or friends might be the perfect person to talk to. Or maybe they’re in a different space and not the person to talk to. Regardless, find a safe space. Reach out to someone you trust and ask for help.
Of course you feel all the feels. The truth is we all are feeling all the feels at different times. And each person needs to do something to address those emotions. Because they’re there whether you face it or not. So…accept the emotions, reach out to someone and express them. Then, you can find the right skills to use and begin to look at the stressors you are experiencing with a more realistic lens.
Support Through Online Counseling
One option for processing your emotions is to consider counseling. Most therapists, including all of the therapists at Aspire Counseling, are offering online counseling sessions. Telehealth (also called “online counseling,” “online therapy,” “telemental health” or “distance counseling”) can be just as effective as in person counseling. But you can do it right now. Because you deserve support right now. Even when you’re stuck at home, you need a connection outside your house. A safe space. Counseling is one option for getting that support.
If you’re interested in starting online therapy right now and live in the state of Missouri, the therapists at Aspire Counseling can help. You can start the intake process by calling 573-328-2288. If we aren’t a good fit for you, we’ll give you other resources and recommendations. Because we believe everyone deserves support.