Updated: May 6
Feeling vulnerable and helpless when living with a chronic disease is a frequent occurrence, and before I figured out what was happening and why, it would manifest itself as anger, frustration and a type of reaction that bordered on rage to every little thing. This was not typical for me, I am a go with the flow kind of chick and I felt like I was reacting to everything instead of responding to it.
My husband Jeff is a Gulf War Veteran who has Gulf War Illness, which by definition is “unexplained” everything from pain to digestive issues to memory loss, and no one could tell us why it was happening or how to manage it. When you live with this third entity in your house that you can’t control, you can’t fix and is in control of everything 24hrs a day...This is trauma and it bring drama... I HATE drama... I have never been a fan and now I am smack dab in the middle of it, I was scared, angry, sad and was having about 14 other emotions that don’t have names and I never felt before. TRAUMA DRAMA
We are all hard wired for short term crisis like a tornado or accident, we get an adrenaline surge that helps us endure the short blast of uncertainty, vulnerability and sadness. Short term crisis does not affect your “normal” life. Long term crisis is something we are all feeling when it comes to Covid, everything we knew to be normal has changed in one way or another, it has disrupted the natural rhythm of things leaving us all weary...we are exhausted from extreme mental, physical and emotional impact from trying to find normal.
One of the things no one talks about during a crisis is the grief and loss that comes with the journey. Most of us when we think about grief and loss think about death and if the crisis is death, then we are more prepared for the emotional roller coaster that comes along with it. Covid and chronic disease on the other hand does not even put grief and loss on the map so we are side swiped by the feeling of extreme sadness. It took me a while and lots of exploring to understand the feeling was grief and loss. Grief is on the inside, loss is on the outside...
Covid has caused a lot of suffering for all of us in one form or another. Some how we have all learned that we should compare our suffering, judge the validity of it, and try very hard to justify why we “shouldn’t” feel like we do. The only thing that comes out of this process is judgement of self or others. “Judgement demands punishment...” think about that... blame, shame and judgement all because you think you should not be as sad as you are...It is suffering inducing... Our sadness and grief is personal, unique, valid and necessary, it does not matter if you are grieving the loss of a person or grieving the loss of a concert date you have been waiting for...loss is loss... Covid and chronic illness is a collection of losses that happen rapidly and the collective grief can be overwhelming, paralyzing and confusing. We have to recognize it is part of the journey, embrace it, feel it and then adjust, accept and move on... TRAUMA DRAMA...
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