Is it Anger or …?

We’re angry. Lots and lots of us. We got vaccinated, we’ve worn masks, we’ve worked from home, educated our kids at home, did our shopping curbside. We were responsible. We were grown-ups.

But now, the number of covid patients is skyrocketing. If we are so foolish as to “read the comments” on news articles about the delta variant, we’ll find commenters pushing false conspiracies and proclaiming their commitment to be irresponsible.

Meanwhile, those who cannot get the vaccine, due to their age or for medical reasons, are made more at-risk.

You absolutely have a right to be angry.

AND… there may be something else mixed in with that anger.

Like sadness. Depression. These feelings often masquerade as anger, especially for men (but it can apply to any of us).

I was so angry, I couldn’t think. My amygdala was fairly vibrating with rage.

But what the anger was covering was some deep sadness. I needed to uncover that, and allow it to surface.

I’m sad because I had a vision of what the fall would look like, and the reality will be so different.

I’m sad because that brief blip of a more free summer reminded me what “normal” felt like, and it was so delicious. And it’s been snatched away again.

I’m sad because I realized how much I love seeing the smiles on other people’s faces, and now we need to cover those smiles up again with masks.

But mostly I’m sad because I am so terribly disappointed in other people. My heart aches as I witness government leaders making terrible decisions that will cost lives. I’m crushed at hearing of people who are doubling down on their anti-science rhetoric, despite all the stories of people repenting — too late — when they are felled by covid.

Admitting to myself these sadnesses allowed me to grieve. It is healthy to grieve. (And frankly, better than taking out our anger on our loved ones.) I cried, literally cried. And that’s okay, too.

And after I grieved both for what is not to be, and for what is, I found a calmness. Inside that calmness, I could think clearly again. I could look at actual facts, I could see all the people who are doing so much good. I could say, “Okay, so that plan won’t work. Time to get creative.”

Resilience doesn’t mean putting on a happy face when we’re sad or angry. Those feelings are part and parcel of being resilient. We feel them, identify them; we grieve, or shout, or get with friends who are feeling similarly and share with them.

And then, we can take a deep breath and say, “Okay. What’s the next right thing?”*

And make a new plan.

*Yes, I am unabashedly quoting from Frozen 2.

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