Therapeutic Musings – Pandemic Effects

Therapeutic Musings – Pandemic Effects

The first lockdown had serious effects on peoples’ state of mind. Apart from all the profoundly serious threats to our finances and jobs, we have all been living a much more isolated life, with little or no physical contact with loved ones and friends, let alone colleagues and acquaintances.

Then we came out of that lockdown – oh what a relief! Life had certainly changed dramatically, but we could see friends and family again, go out for a meal, socialise, and most importantly, hug our loved ones!

Now a lot of the country is in lockdown again (first Tier 4, then full lockdown) and this second round feels much harder to bear. Anxiety, worry, depression, sadness, and grief – the effects of this pandemic are traumatic.

I have received more and more enquiries from all over the world asking about my mix of therapies. They tell me they are drawn to my style of working because it is so relational, and soul based. So many have spent so much time at home this year, giving time for a life review, and maybe a re-jigging of values and aims in life.

I am busier in my private practice than I have ever been, and have had to start a waiting list, and though currently not able to see people face-to-face, Zoom has opened my capacity to work much wider afield than before.

I also do some work for HiS Charity, Maidstone. They provide a range of support to men who are suicidal or struggling mentally. They offer a 24/7 helpline, a buddy system, holistic therapies, and other events, and I support them with long term counselling for the men. For so long, boys and men in Western society have been taught that they should be ‘strong’ and not need support, yet this wonderful charity has been inundated with requests for help from the men themselves, and from an overloaded health service.

My hope for the future? That we can extract some positive effects of this pandemic so that some people, in reviewing their values and learning to cope with the overload of changes and physical and psychological effects of this trauma, will be the richer within themselves to develop a different life moving forward, and we can build a society that values and encourages the relationships that we have all missed so much during lockdown. Perhaps an economy based solely on materialism will hold less sway?

 

 

Short biography:

Linda is a Jungian Psychotherapist, integrative Counsellor, Spiritual Healer, Reiki Master and Thought Field Therapist and uses these modalities, in combination or singly, to best support her clients. She has been a therapist for over 30 years.

www.lindabishopp.co.uk

Some Thoughts on Our Reactions to This Pandemic.

Some Thoughts on Our Reactions to This Pandemic.

So here we are in the middle of the weirdest time that we are likely to experience during our lifetime.

You can’t expect to respond normally – maybe you’ve lost sleep, or slept at odd times of day, you’ve been watching too much terrifying news, feeling anxious and uncertain, behaved well out of character with family, lost your routine and struggled to find another that works. Have you been eating more, drinking more, got angry inappropriately, cried for no obvious reason? Yes, normal has disappeared and we are now in abnormal!

Except your reactions are not abnormal – they are a normal response to trauma. We are all traumatised by this; all in shock at the sudden changes in our lives.

Our brain reverts to primitive operating when exposed to unexpected threats – our lives and lifestyles are under threat. Our brains go foggy, we feel out of control, our emotions go crazy, we don’t recognise some of our reactions.

The primitive brain thinks we are about to be eaten by a predator, we are going to die, and we start taking all sorts of actions to preserve our life. We might run around behaving unusually, we might get aggressive with others, or we might hide away, avoiding contact with others, or give in to others’ opinions and do what they say – the fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses to trauma.

And because we are all in the same boat, we are all anxious, and that is very contagious.

What to do

Understand that your reactions can be no other way – the primitive brain takes over in these circumstances, accept that.
Breathe – deeply. Take at least 6 deep breaths that make your tummy rise and fall – it’s the BEST way to reduce anxiety.
Ground your energy – there are plenty of exercises to help you do this on my website.
Talk to people, pick up the phone, use Zoom – connect with friends, family every day. Tell them how you are feeling, listen to how they’re feeling. Be tolerant and kind, send them a virtual hug.
Escape some of the time – limit the amount of news you watch daily, and watch good movies, listen to a radio play, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to
Get creative – in the garden, clear out that cupboard, re-arrange the furniture, cook
Meditate if you enjoy this – gardening or walking in silence can be a meditation. You don’t have to sit cross-legged!
Be aware of your coping habits – drinking, eating too much, taking drugs etc. Limit this and occupy yourself with something else. Don’t beat yourself up though if you do slip – be kind to yourself
And, be kind to others. We are all going through this and all responding in our own ways.

Linda

 

Linda Bishopp MA, DMS, Dip Couns, Reg BACP, MTHF.