Disorder, Disconnection and Invasion cause feelings of threat for each member of the human family. As stakeholders in my PhD pointed out these experiences destabilise our attempts to protect order, connection, and our sense of dignity.
Cyclone Covid, as I am calling it, invades our bodies and our minds, and our ways of being in community. It actively disconnects us from safe human touch and gatherings filled with laughter and stories. It disconnects us from places and routines, and life as we knew it. It causes disorder in our hospitals and health systems, in our ways of gathering food, in our rituals of marriage and death, in our dreams and visions of the future, and in our minds and hearts.
People who have lived with these experiences of disorder, disconnection and invasion infiltrating their childhoods, their marriages and even their workplaces can often be strangely settled in the midst of crisis. They have advance knowledge of how to cope with these experiences. At this time, Covid and its impacts may remind some of these people of their capacity to survive. They may feel ‘at home’ and no longer surprised or destabilized by these experiences of being on the planet Earth.
For others though, it may exacerbate their feelings of inner chaos, isolation, and inability to trust others. If they have experienced injury from authority figures in their lives, then they may also not be able to trust the government to care for them, or the supermarkets to provide for them, or even the medical system to be kind.
Spare a thought for those whose present experience may be reactivating terror or despair from their childhood or closest relationships. We do not know what inner pain has been triggered. As far as possible through tone of voice and calm presence lets offer order, connection, and dignity in how we care for one another … in how we all respond to this virus.
Dr Johanna Lynch PhD MBBS FRACGP FASPM Grad Cert (Grief and Loss) is a GP Psychotherapist who researches whole person approaches to distress. She is Chair of the Australian Society for Psychological Medicine.
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