When Hidden Grief Gets Triggered During COVID-19 Confinement

How to Use These Days to Heal Old Wounds Rather than Reenact Them

Because these days provoke extra anxiety in us, we need to set up equally strong extra safeguards to keep ourselves sane and safe.

It’s important to find functional and healthy ways to “untrap” ourselves during this most unusual time, to create a sense of psychic space and safety. Putting a temporary frame around this time, getting outdoors into nature, using the internet to connect with friends and support groups are all “buffers” that can mean we emerge from this experience more resilient than when we came into it.

To Heal or Not to Heal: A Moment of Awakening vs Reenacting Old Pain

Herein lies the challenge, when these tender places within us do get triggered, we tend to take one of two routes, the conscious route or the unconscious route.

Hidden Grief
  • Rage
  • Excessive rumination
  • Chronic negativity
  • Being easily triggered into overly intense emotional reactions or under-reactions/shutting down
  • Recurring or long-lasting depression
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Self-mutilation and self-harming
  • Caretaking behavior
  • Excessive guilt
  • Constant crying or feeling weepy
  • Low mood, sad
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Emotional numbness or constriction
  • Shame
  • Codependency
  • Body/health-related issues, soreness or stiffness
  • A desire to self-medicate

Take Steps Now: Get Your Supports in Place

  • Maintain important daily routines and rituals and institute new ones. You know what they are for you: morning meditation or inspiring reading, coffee, a walk, exercise, a meeting.
  • Create safety and order in your home; keep it clean and pleasant. Be proactive in creating your best environment.
  • Have a schedule. Don’t let time crowd you into a dark corner, take charge of your day.
  • Maintain relational connection with others, use Facetime, Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, telephone, and text to stay connected to those you care about!
  • Look for the silver linings. Is it more time with your children? Your family? Yourself?
  • Get sleep, eat well, and exercise.
  • Cook lovely food and eat is slowly and enjoy it Have a brown-bag Zoom dinner date or party.
  • Meditate: Create a sense of calm and safety within.
  • Play music, dance!
  • Watch uplifting videos.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and an attitude of gratitude. Look for what’s going right.
  • Do not be perfect!! We’re all slogging through this together, do the best you can, then forgive yourself for slipping — we’re all slipping.

Senior fellow at The Meadows, psychologist, psychodramatist, author Emotional Sobreity,ACoA Trauma Syndrome, Forgiving and Moving On, Huff Post blogger, speaker