“I’m just too much.” Listening to those words this week from many clients whose emotional landscape has been significantly altered by the pandemic. People in the midst of rushing back to “normal”, not just in relationship to their external environments, but in relationship to who they thought they were before the pandemic. I am seeing more anxiety and depression from the over analysis and recalibration of emotional and psychological patterns that once may have served us, but as people are beginning to utilize those old ways of thinking and being, something is amiss. The same freedoms offered before in our mental processes are either not enough, not adequate, or simply not as effective. Propelling people into shame, doubt, and the ensuing anxiety and depression, clients are sharing that they simply feel overwhelmed, as though they are just too much. Too much for others to be around, too much to sit within themselves. What I hear underneath those words is that there is just too much pain, not enough safety. Many are walking on egg shells. Where they land next is like navigating an emotional and spiritual landmine. Will they recognize themselves? Will they recognize their reactions to patterns? Will others?
The experience of daily life itself becomes daunting and trusting oneself is questionable. As we re-emerge, you might want to take things slowly. Your thoughts and emotions will have new territory to discover. Your reactions and responses to stimuli might feel quite different. You might truly think something is wrong with you. There is nothing wrong. We are all stepping out of a collective trauma and the process is a deep, slow and sometimes intense one of integration. We are not the same people we were before the pandemic. If you think you have not changed in any way, I would ask you to reconsider. Exploring uncharted emotionally territory is frightening for anyone, and exciting at the same time.
All of us experienced a death on some level during this pandemic. Many of us were too busy trying to figure out how we were going to survive with all the changes that were thrown upon us. At some point, we will have to grieve. We still have not felt safe enough to do so yet, but it will come. Grieve. Your inner landscape needs your permission to do so and to open itself up for you to make a new relationship with yourself in the months to come.