How have you been feeling through the Coronavirus pandemic? Anxious? Depressed? Angry? Unsure about everything? It’s not fun, I know. For many of us, it is necessary, though. Not only that, experiencing these emotions, while not something any of us want to feel, can actually be healthy in the long run.
I know what you’re thinking: did this guy just tell us we should want to feel these painful and unpleasant emotions during these challenging times? That’s right. I did.
Most people want to feel good, be comfortable and have pleasurable experiences in life all the time. I’m with you on that. Unfortunately, that’s unrealistic. The funny thing is, and this might sound crazy, but I am also very thankful for all the emotional garbage I’ve had to live through, too, perhaps experiencing many of the same negative and confusing emotions that you are dealing with right now.
I spent many years in your shoes and experienced severe anxiety, debilitating panic attacks, was left defeated and depressed. Heck, I could barely leave the house at my lowest point. That wasn’t during a pandemic, either, but rather when my life should have been on the up and up. My point is, I’ve been there. I’ve lived where you are right now. I even still feel those ugly horrible emotions once in a while, but I know how to work through them better now. It’s never easy. It’s never enjoyable. But it teaches me something every time and helps me change course and refocus.
You know what? I’m extremely grateful for it. You should be, too. For real.
When you live through a lot of negative and unhealthy emotions, a lot of good can come of it. That might sound counterintuitive, especially when you are in the midst of it all, lost your job, are living with constant worry, your marriage could be on the fritz and there is nothing but uncertainty in your future, but one day, probably not tomorrow or even next month, something good is going to come from it. That’s not a line of motivational nonsense, either.
If you’re constantly just cruising through life, you lose perspective, begin to take things for granted, just go through the motions, one day bleeds into another and you can easily lose your focus of what you want and what is truly important. When things go off the track, it’s then that you remember what you’re really grateful for, the things that matter most and what you want to really get out of life. You remember the people you forgot about and even the simple things you rarely pay attention to anymore. You gain a sense of clarity you didn’t previously have. It’s a huge emotional shift.
When you pickup the pieces of your life and come through it all, you gain emotional strength you didn’t know you had. The minute details of everyday life don’t weigh down on you as much. You don’t engage in the pettiness that is all around. You’re more confident and driven. You end up in a new place where you belong, and you’re happier than you were and at peace with yourself.
Wallowing around in these feelings while you figure life out is okay, at least in the short term. At some point, however, it will be time to take charge of your mental health and your future.
If you’re riding on an emotional rollercoaster right now, don’t know where your life is going and having feelings you’ve never felt before, you’re definitely not alone. Mental health has already been at the forefront of society for years, and the number of people experiencing anxiety and depression is going to increase significantly during and after the Coronavirus.
As we make an effort to increase COVID testing and continue to focus on social distancing as America reopens, let us not forget the emotional impact it can have on all of us. The problem with emotional pain is even in this day and age, too many people still hide it, won’t ask for help and silently suffer. When you don’t get help for a mental health issue, it only gets worse. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s especially important to remember this as May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Remember, feeling emotionally unstable is perfectly okay. Ignoring it is not. You can recover and comeback better than before. That little bit of emotional pain can change your life for the better if you recognize it and work through it.
Is working through your emotional pain and mental health challenges going to be easy? Not even close. Will you enjoy it? Quite the contrary. Recovery can be a long and hard-fought battle. Other people won’t understand what you’re going through, and sometimes neither will you. In the end, however, the shift that comes and the person who emerges will forever be indebted to it all because without it, the path forward would have never been.
As the great Rodney Dangerfield said, “Life is full of temporary situations, ultimately ending in a permanent solution.” COVID is one of those temporary situations, and with all the emotional pain and anguish that comes with it, your tomorrow can be better because of it.
Bruce Serbin is a publicist, former TV news journalist, recovered from panic disorder and an advocate of mental health awareness. He is author of the book “Pull The Stick Out of Your @$$: Real-Life Strategies to Help You Face Your Fears, Stop Your Worrying and Live Your Best Life.” http://pullthestick.com/