Wanting the Un-seeable to Become Seeable | May 13, 2020

By Don Minkoff, LCSW

Before you continue reading this, I am going to ask you to go to a window or door, open it and squint while looking outside.  I’ll wait………..

What did you see?  Actually it’s not what you saw but what you did not see that has created disruption and uncertainty about everything we know.  As we worry about getting sick or what will happen if we get sick we no longer feel safe.  There are also multiple financial uncertainties. We look for information to make sense of this un-seeable thing but struggle with what is the “right” information and what is “not right information.” This un-seeable thing has put us in a position of looking at how we are around and with each other at the moment, because we can no longer fall back on social norms.  Without the ability to fall back on what we know, it creates uncertainty for the future. What makes it real is not just the magnitude of what this un-seeable thing is creating, but that we are living it, not just reading about it.  We are all sharing in this uncertainty, but we are each doing it alone.

The following are a compilation of ways we can ways live with this uncertainty.  While there may be little that is new or you haven’t heard about, I believe it is a good reminder because the future remains uncertain.

  • Self-Care: Maintain a schedule; eat sleep, bathe as if it is a “regular day.” Do some form of exercise or movement both inside, and if you feel comfortable, outside.  Watch movies, read for enjoyment, find creative activities that stimulate and help your mind focus.
  • Stay connected: Due to this un-seeable thing, the use of masks, not hugging or shaking hands is the loss of “personal” connection creates loss. We struggle to visit family; we worry about love ones in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.  Obviously one of the benefits of the internet age there is Zoom, Facetime where we can have a form personal interaction.  However, many family experiences, holidays, life events will not be shared due to the worry of un-seeable thing.  Be creative in finding ways to create shared family experiences, such as watching a movie at the same time, while living in different locations and then talk about it together.
  • Be informed but recognize we are still learning: As we struggle to see this un-seeable thing, we are looking for more information.  The amount of information can become confusing.  What is fact one day may be changed or the opposite the next.  What is opinion can be seen or presented as fact.  Too much information can heighten and intensify uncertainty. No matter what, limit the amount of time you are looking for information.

I want to stress this is just a small list of what we can do to live with the uncertainty. We are moving towards the lifting of the restrictions that have guided how we have lived over the past month and a half.  However, as we work to follow the guidelines that move us into the future uncertainty remains; we don’t know how it will go.  The longer we live with the uncertainty the farther away we get from the hope we will get back to what we know. Accept we are going to be living with uncertainty; accept what we can’t control.  It means finding and maintaining the strength within ourselves to do what we do to feel empowered over uncertainty, even if it goes against what we hear or see others doing around us.   Until we can see the un-seeable, not only do I wish everyone “Shalom;” let me add “be safe.”

Sources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/dealing-with-uncertainty.htm