Ann Gadd: Covid-19 and the 7 Stages of Loss
As we face the biggest crisis of the modern time, it’s understandable that we may react differently. We have or are in the process of facing losing the world as we know it. This is a massive loss for all of us, no matter what form that loss(es) take (death, finance, company etc.). Here then is the Covid-19 and the 7 Stages of Loss:
The stages of loss and grief, as modified from the Kubler-Ross model, can be applied to the process we are all moving through. I’ve outlined them here, so that you can have a deeper understanding of your own journey, as well as others’ journeys. Have compassion for yourself and others through the process, as each stage is a step to acceptance and the peace that comes with living in that state, no matter what is happening in the outer world.
This is when we find ourselves first hearing the news about Covid-19. We respond by doing nothing and may act as if we haven’t heard the news. Numbed when it comes to taking action to protect ourselves we seek to avoid the painful reality of our situation. We aren’t denying it outright, we are simply unable to act. Things we might say are: “Yes, I’ve read something about it.” “Isn’t it just fake news?”
We can’t belief what we’re hearing and may look for evidence to disprove the news. We say things like: “This can’t be.” “It’s in China, it’s not our problem.” “No way could it happen here.” “How stupid are those people wearing masks.” “Everyone is completely overreacting.” “It’s only flu.” “The death percentage is very low, so it’s not a problem.” “What’s the problem?”
Here we look for a scapegoat – someone to blame. “What sort of people eat bats?” “People are being stupid—they don’t get how serious this is.” “The government doesn’t have a clue how to deal with this crisis.” “Idiots!” “I stand to lose a lot of cash because of this fiasco.” “Everyone’s bought all the bloody toilet roles. Can’t people act less selfishly?” “The officials were useless.” “Dam wealthy travelers!”
Here’s where we begin to realize the gravity of the situation, and look to see what we can do to make the pain disappear—to negotiate our reality away. Going to sleep, we hope to wake to find it was all a bad dream. We do avid research on the virus, hoping that the more we know, the less chance of it affecting us. We say things like: “If I drink hot water regularly, I’ll be alright.” “Maybe if we all wear masks it’ll be okay.” “Three months of food stockpiled will keep us fine.” “What’s the meaning/symbology of this virus? If I understand it I’ll be able to conquer it.”
We feel overwhelmed and hopeless. The enforced isolation of lockdown can exacerbate these feelings. We may want to take flight in addictions or to another environment. “I can’t live so cut off.” “I feel alone. Alienated.” “How much longer will this all last?” “I’ve lost my business and half of my savings already.” “I can’t take this anymore.” “I feel unsupported.” There can also be regret such as: “I wish I’d taken this more seriously sooner.”
Here we start to seek realistic solutions. We make plans. We test to see what works for us and our families and start adapting to the new normal. “We’re going to have to lockdown and work remotely.” “Hand-washing and masks, as well as isolation are the only way forward.” “We are being cautious and careful.” “We’re all in this together.” “Things are moving rapidly, what’s the best way to act?” “Let’s check-in with each other daily at 9:00.” “Let’s form a caring group.”
Here we explore the best options available to us and look for ways to constructively deal with the situation. We are able to help others and we live for the exquisite moments of joy we find in the mundane—think of the Italians singing from their balconies. This is where our humanity lives. We live consciously and are present. “This virus is going to have a severe impact on the country and the world, what can I do to help?” “I cannot alter the progress of this virus, I can only change the way I respond to it.” “I accept that there must be some good that will emerge from all of this.””I’ll look for all that I have to be grateful for.”
We cannot change what is happening. We can only change how we respond.Ann Gadd
From an Enneagram perspective, it’s natural that Types may want to hang out at certain stages where they feel the most comfortable, but we’ll examine that in a later blog.