Written by Dr.Sabrina Suma, clinical psychologist in Dubai
The end of the long-awaited and longed-for quarantine seems to have come. Yet not everyone is experiencing this moment with excitement or serenity.
The fears and ambiguities that characterized the most acute phase of the "lockdown", continue to live within us, so much so that many people are experiencing this moment in a confused and problematic way.
Faced with the possibility of returning to live in the outside world again, many people found themselves experiencing feelings of fear and anxiety at the idea of abandoning the homely and reassuring dimension to which the quarantine had forced us.
Consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic
The pandemic has shocked the way to work, to teach, to meet others, to live in general; forced us to stop and slow down, suddenly destabilizing more or less consolidated experiences, routines and balances. Faced with confused and worrying messages, we withdrew, for some reason we thought that the only safe place could be our home and that we would only go out when everything returned to normal or at least the risk of contagion had diminished. So the initial state of disorientation, made up of fear and a sense of disbelief, was followed by a more adaptive one, in which we tried to transform what seemed to all intents and purposes a state of confinement, into a new everyday life.
Quarantine: trauma and opportunity
During the quarantine people were forced to home, families found themselves having a lot of time available, parents had to support their children in the management of e-learning platforms and those who were not engaged in "front-line" jobs, discovered the the possibility of working from home, the time spent inside, forced everyone to deal not only with fear and anxiety, but also with good and bad habits.
Here then, if you were lucky enough not to suffer a trauma in the trauma, as in those people who in this circumstance have unfortunately lost loved ones and work situations and for which it would therefore be necessary to make a separate discussion; the quarantine has become an opportunity for personal growth and protected exploration, in which it is not so bad. Of course not everyone has experienced this positive side of the lockdown, there are those who have found themselves managing economic difficulties or those who have had problems integrating work commitments or conflict situations in the family and, again, there are those who have suffered from the lack of real and personal space, but there is even those who in recent months have managed to build a real "comfort zone" where they read, experiment, cook, train, meet, take care of themselves and from which it is now difficult to get out.
What happens with the return to normal?
Moreover, until a cure is found that can defeat the coronavirus, the exit from quarantine will be governed by rules that suggest everything except "normality": if on the one hand, in fact, we can enjoy and regain part of our freedom, on the other hand we must practice social distancing and to avoid contagion, we must wear a mask, use disinfectants and live with a sense of hyper-vigilance that has little to do with the human and spontaneity. So then the initial fear has been joined by disabling emotions that do not make us want to start over and that make us prefer "confinement" to the possibility of returning to a world that we do not like anymore besides scaring us.
What to do then to get out of this state of disorientation where you no longer want to go out, where feelings such as anxiety, fear and depression coexist at the same time in a suspended time?
How to get out of it without being trapped in choices of dangerous social and sensorial withdrawal?
How do you get over a quarantine that has now become a reassuring dimension?
It has been proposed Bessel Van der Kolk e Miriam Taylor, who have dedicated a large part of their life to the treatment of trauma and traumatic experiences, of which fear and isolation are fundamental aspects, the answer lies in "emotional awareness". If, in fact, to escape from unpleasant and disabling emotions and experiences, we take refuge in a timeless world, where we feel "at home" only if we are alone with our little big world, we risk exchanging well-being, with a state of trance or dissociation sensory.
- First of all, we must not hide behind false security, it is important to allow ourselves to be allowed to feel fragile and vulnerable, the best way to free ourselves from fear and anxiety is to accept that we are experiencing a difficult time and fear and anger, so like depression, they are "physiologically" normal responses in such a situation; once the depressive phase has been overcome, it will be time to react constructively.
- It is important to talk to the people around us or whom we trust, sharing puts us in relationship with each other and activates resources that we did not think we possessed.
- It is necessary to learn to look within, to recognize oneself as “consciously afraid”, accepting one's fear, in fact, helps to understand its causes, as those who practice Yoga or mindfulness know well.
- Body care is also important at this time, not going out and staying comfortable, it does not mean letting go, the body has suffered a severe blow and needs to be cared for, reactivated and pampered.
- So when we feel overwhelmed and confused, we have to stop and breathe deeply, try to understand what we are feeling, if necessary put it down and if the sense of overwhelm continues to oppress us, do not hesitate to ask for the help of an expert or let's try to talk about it. with a family member or friend, but we are not alone.
- Stopping for a moment to try to understand what we are feeling, for example, can help us to get in touch with our real needs, so rather than entertain ourselves too much with digital relationships or with the numerous courses and free pastimes available these days online, we can select and rediscover what our desires really are, what are the hobbies and courses we really want to do, which make us happy, the things that make us feel good and, again, the people who make us feel understood, welcomed and recognized.
It is no longer time for the superfluous, it is time for quality and "the essential", even in relationships; because these are the things that can save us. It is important not to let yourself go, take care of yourself and learn to gradually resume social contacts, naturally with due care; behind the masks there are eyes that can smile and people who like us are experiencing a difficult time, we do not run away in a hurry, we try to meet each other's eyes, we will have to learn to trust again.
The answer to these difficult times lies in beauty and resilience, that is, in our ability to cope with traumatic events and this, in addition to depending on the coping strategies used, is closely related to the quality of the relationships we build, which is why it is important not to isolate ourselves completely. , but learn to trust each other again.
We do not neglect the body, we do things with our hands, we knead, write, draw, caress, carefully choose the things we want to do and share them with the people we love or like and make us feel good, we don't expect too much from ourselves and we learn to repeat more realistic "mantras", we live in a suspended and surreal time, but all this will end and we will come back to hug each other again!