The Covid Crash (aka Where did ALL these Feelings Come From?)
Maybe you've been vaccinated. Maybe you are back to working in person. Maybe you've started to visit with friends and family again.
And maybe you feel SO relieved. And that is fantastic. But what's this other feeling?
There's this shadow of frustration or anger or resentment or guilt or even more exhaustion rising to the surface...Why this? Why now?
Why are you still anxious or depressed or or or ???
"Things are getting better. Shouldn't I FEEL better?"
Well...here's the deal about trauma. When you are in the midst of an overwhelming experience, your brain's job is to protect you. You can only tolerate so many big feelings at once. So, sometimes this protection takes the form of denying or numbing feelings.
During an acute threat, we do not have the capacity for ALL the feelings, but when the acute threat has passed, the feelings are still there and still need processing. So they start surfacing in various ways---sometimes feelings are processed through the body with physical symptoms, like fatigue, pain or illness, and other times, feelings are processed through the mind and heart with mental and emotional symptoms.
In other words, once you begin to feel safer, it is safer for more feelings to emerge. And they sometimes emerge in sneaky or surprising ways.
This phenomenon is why people will "suddenly" remember a repressed trauma years after the fact---because the brain only allows access to certain things once the body feels safe enough to process them. Though, most often, the brain and body have been unconsciously processing the trauma the entire time.
This is all to say that just when you think you should be feeling better, sometimes you feel worse and that's ok for now---especially once you stop judging it.
Your body is emptying out all of the unprocessed emotion from the last year. So, if this is you (and frankly, this is MOST of us), be patient and be conscious that that's what's happening, so that you don't falsely attribute it to something else.
Recognize it's just the natural part of discharging trauma. One of the best things you can do is give yourself grace and space (and perhaps some friendly human support, professional or otherwise) to process whatever feelings are coming up and it will shift.