Feeling a little crazy during the shutdown?

April 23, 2020

How are you doing with the shutdown, and the virus? How much has your life changed?

For some of us, it’s about health concerns and for other people it’s about economic uncertainty. For many of us it’s about both.

For some of us, it’s about loneliness, and for other people it’s about the conflicts that arise when you spend too much time with the same people. In a strange way, some of us are feeling cut off from friends, even though we are surrounded by family.

One of my friends recently said to me, “Recently, I lost it for a bit. This situation really brought these intense feelings to a head. Now, I am doing ok, but for a while there I really lost it.”

I bet you can relate to what she said.

After 6 weeks of quarantine most of us feel like we are going a little “crazy.” Well, we’re NOT going crazy. Something else is happening. Something important.

What’s happening is that we are coming into contact with a part of ourselves that we usually avoid with all the day-to-day busyness. The quarantine has stripped away the busyness. Thus, a wave of emotions pours forth from our unconscious and we feel overwhelmed. That can make us feel a little crazy.

But there is another way to look at this unveiling of the shadow side.

Most of us were brought up to believe that expressing feelings is immature and to be avoided at all cost, and that emotional maturity is the ability to repress any feelings we are having and just “be strong”.

If you try this “be strong” technique, when you’re going through a hard time, then you have probably found you can succeed at doing it, as long as you stay busy. But then at night, when there is nothing to do, all those feelings start lurking around your bedroom. You think to yourself, “Boy, have I got them all fooled. I am not strong; I am a mess. And no one knows.”

That’s when redefining what emotional maturity is can really help.

Emotional maturity isn’t about hiding your true feelings. It’s about keeping your heart open no matter what you feel.

Emotional maturity is about making the unconscious conscious. It’s about learning what the strong feelings are teaching you about how to improve your life.

When times are good it’s like we have a brake pad protecting us from having to learn how to deal with our powerful feelings. In times of uncertainty, the feelings that have been hidden from view come to the surface.

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