If you are like myself and many of my clients I am guessing that you feel like your life is falling apart right now.
Do you find that all of the coping mechanisms that you have developed over the years aren’t working? Do you feel worthless or like a failure or like you have no one who loves you? Are you questioning every decision you have ever made and are you wondering how you can ever be at peace again?
I have so many clients who are reaching out to me now, questioning everything in their lives and feeling like they are truly losing their shit. And, yes, they all have stuff they are dealing with but right now their burden feels overwhelming.
If you feel like your life is falling apart right now there are many reasons and most of them have nothing to do with you.
Let me share them with you now.
#1 – Life has changed completely.
Think about your life before March 2020. What did you do? Did you go out to eat and travel and visit your in-laws and drop your kids off at school and date and have ready access to toilet paper whenever you wanted it?
Did you assume that, no matter what the state of politics in the US, you had your own happy life, one with ups and downs sure, but with friends and family and freedom?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are not alone. All of us always assumed that we would have the freedom to live our lives the way we wanted and, all of a sudden, that freedom was ripped away from us.
For the first time we couldn’t go and do what we wanted to do. Many people lost their jobs and, even if you didn’t lose yours, the unemployment numbers were staggering. Grocery store shelves were bare and any travel plans you had were cancelled.
And the government was confusing us at every turn, giving us no confidence that we knew how to get through this.
This is a HUGE! We have literally been thrown off balance in a way that none of us know how to cope with. We have been pushing through these last few months but now we are tired. Now we are scared. Now we wonder what is next for our family and our country.
And all of these events and emotions are overwhelming us to the point that we are doubting ourselves and our life choices and our ability to accomplish anything. This is what you are feeling.
#2 – There is no end in sight.
Here we are, 6 months into the nightmare that is Covid-19, and there is no end in sight.
In June, we had all hoped that the summer months would help reduce the number of deaths. The President promised us that it would all just magically disappear. Masks became the fashion statement de jour and social distancing was encouraged.
And yet, people continued to fall ill. People were told that Covid was a hoax and didn’t follow protocols that might have saved lives. Schools are re-opening and children and teachers are getting sick. And there is no vaccine in sight.
Who can blame you for feeling hopeless and helpless and out of control of your life, especially when you know your health is being threatened by non-believers. You feel like you have no control right now, over anything, so it’s really hard to feel like you have control over yourself. And that lack of control shows up as self-doubt and anxiety.
#3 – Winter is coming.
I know that in many parts of the US winter coming isn’t as big a deal as it is for most of us but for those of us who do deal with long, cold winters, we know, and dread, what is ahead.
Cold winters mean we all move indoors. Outdoor dining and social events are going to evaporate. Colds and flu will run rampant, creating a fear that with every sniffle or fever we, or our family, have coronavirus. It’s dark and cold and the outside experiences that got us through these last few months are going to be few and far between.
And who knows what is going to happen over the holidays – often the only bright spot before the long days of January, days when we see family and visit warm places. Just the thought of it makes me sad.
Even in the best of times, winter’s approach can be daunting. Right now, as we all struggle with this ongoing pandemic, is seems almost unbearable.
#4 – Politics.
Today, Donald Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19. After six months of publicly denying it (and private confirming how dangerous it was) the President of the United States has this horrible disease and the world is upended.
Before this latest news, we have had 4 years of vitriol, hate and public displays that have dispirited us all. To name a few, in the past few years we have had the Kavanaugh hearings, which raised again the ugly specter of sexual abuse. Ruth Bader Ginsberg died suddenly, creating a constitutional crisis around the Supreme Court. Putin put a bounty on US soldier’s heads and the administration did nothing about it. A foreign leader was encouraged to influence the presidential campaign. Families have been torn apart trying to come into our country. Science has been denied and our world is on fire.
And this is just a very small portion of what we have been dealing with since March 2020 and before.
Imagine if you were from another planet, looking down on those of us living in the US right now, can you imagine the empathy that you would have for us? For those of us, on both sides, who are angry and suffering and scared. For those of us who are afraid for the future of our children. How we are scared that our mothers and fathers will die alone.
If you are feeling off kilter and like your life is falling apart, know that even the strongest, most self-confident person is really struggling right now.
#5 – Too much of a usually good thing.
What is it that we all always wished for in our previous lives? What did we just not have enough of but so wished we did? What was thing that was passing before our eyes?
Time. We always wanted more time.
And now we have it. Lots and lots of time to sit around our homes, trying to stay busy, a little bit bored somedays. Lots and lots of time.
I know that for many people the time has been a good thing. I know couples who have grown closer because their busy lives no longer keep them apart. I know of families who have done things together that they hadn’t done in years. I know that there is a lot of yummy bread and chocolate chip cookies that have been made and devoured. We have had time that we have never had before and it has been good.
The downside to all of that time, however, is that it allows our minds to run wild. The time that you used to spend riding the subway or going to the movies or having long boozy dinners with friends is now time often spent in our heads. Instead of running around, keeping ourselves busy, as is human nature, we are left alone with our thoughts.
The worst thing about our thoughts is that, more often than not, they only run negative tapes. I know that I do have some good memories that I like to play over in my head but more often than not I am thinking about that stupid thing I said in 3rd grade, about that time I chose badminton over track in junior high, about how I never appreciated one gift that my ex husband gave me, about how my depression affected my children.
And what do those negative thoughts do? They make me doubt myself and my abilities and my future in every way.
So, while more time has been a gift, recognize that that gift can also bring us to a place of self-doubt that might not exist if we weren’t spending so much time not busy, alone with our thoughts.
If you are one of many of us who feel like your life is falling apart in month 6 of Covid, know that while it feels like it’s all about you and your weaknesses, it’s not!
The world around us feels like it is crashing and burning and even the most resilient of us are struggling to make it through.
Try to keep in mind, as you are struggling, that you are not a person who is weak or worthless or hasn’t lived up to your own expectations. Instead, take stock of the person you are in the world, the people who love you, the good things that you have done, the things that you know you have to offer the world.
You might not be able to make big change right now but it’s ok. Someday this will all be behind us and life will go on and you will get your stability back. And when you do, watch out world!