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In my feelings: Growth after Corona virus?

1
I resisted writing the past few weeks because, honestly, I didn’t know how to put it into words. What was happening with the world, or how I felt about it. My instincts of protection, preservation and hyper-vigilance surface at once and took me right back to a time not so long ago, when I was battling with postnatal anxiety and depression.
When a state of alarm was announced in Spain on the 14th March 2020, I didn’t panic straight away. Ever the realist, I just hoped it would soon be over. Seven weeks later, unsurprisingly to family and friends;
SelfishMother.com
2
I’m still trying to “live my best life”. Within the confines of our 75m2 apartment, I’ve used the time to create some kind of structure for my 18 month toddler, (a whirlwind of energy) and to acquire better skills for my future self.
 
But, on days I’m not okay, (as I’m sure has been experienced by most). I sink into questioning my westernised sense of entitlement. I have more than enough to eat, a healthy child, healthy family, a comfortable and warm home. So why do I find myself honing in on a human factor many of us don’t often
SelfishMother.com
3
recognise? Vulnerability. I mean, these aspects of my life are considerably certain. Access to healthcare should the need arise, no major reasons for financial panic just yet. The sensibility of my Virgo star sign means I’ve done the maths and can make beans on toast look Michelin star.
 
 I’m reminded amidst my irrationality, of Brené Brown’s 2019 Ted Talk. She has spent her working life trying to understand vulnerability, empathy and shame. ‘The Call to Courage’ really gave some meaning to my feelings about life, my purpose and my
SelfishMother.com
4
experience of motherhood a while back. Exposing vulnerability as a trigger of alot of our fears but also our determination. Similarly a study in 2000 by Updegraff, J.A., & Taylor, S.E., entitled ‘From vulnerability to growth: Positive and negative effects of stressful life events’ .states..individuals [act] as active agents in restoring psychological equilibrium in the aftermath of a traumatic life event. […]traumatic life events initially take their toll by challenging people’s sense of meaning, their sense of mastery, and their
SelfishMother.com
5
self-esteem…
people are motivated to restore their self-esteem and sense of meaning and mastery by the production of self-enhancing cognitions[..]. For example, a sense of meaning can be regained by understanding why a traumatic event occurred and what its role in a person’s life will be, […]by either a causal attributional search or a rethinking of attitudes and life priorities.’The reality for me is that I am pretty resilient. I’m thankful for the tests in the months prior to lock down. Moving country, being an immigrant and becoming a
SelfishMother.com
6
first time Mum.
 
I had to make a choice at a certain point to turn pain into growth. The definition for trauma in the Cambridge Dictionary online is ‘(a) severe emotional shock and pain caused by an extremely upsetting experience’, similarly, Google tells me its ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.’
I don’t know about anyone else, but I can identify with those emotional states the last few weeks. I have recognised this experience as  a trauma. Not with a view to cause more panic or anguish for those that might
SelfishMother.com
7
not have characterised it as such. But ultimately to be transparent about how I feel, so that others are able to as well. I have so many friends and family questioning why they’re feeling unmotivated. Or like they’re “not doing enough! I want you to ask yourself, by whose measure? So instead of feeling bad that you’ve worn the same clothes two days in a row or, not used your exercise freedom. Can we practice acceptance? What we’re currently facing is outside of our control, but what can we take charge of? Spend the next hour in our safe space,
SelfishMother.com
8
our homes.  Pyjamas, or a free MoMA art class are both wins in my book. And ultimately, will you invest in positive opportunities for growth on the other side of this?
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- 6 May 20

I resisted writing the past few weeks because, honestly, I didn’t know how to put it into words. What was happening with the world, or how I felt about it. My instincts of protection, preservation and hyper-vigilance surface at once and took me right back to a time not so long ago, when I was battling with postnatal anxiety and depression.
When a state of alarm was announced in Spain on the 14th March 2020, I didn’t panic straight away. Ever the realist, I just hoped it would soon be over. Seven weeks later, unsurprisingly to family and friends; I’m still trying to “live my best life”. Within the confines of our 75m2 apartment, I’ve used the time to create some kind of structure for my 18 month toddler, (a whirlwind of energy) and to acquire better skills for my future self.

 

But, on days I’m not okay, (as I’m sure has been experienced by most). I sink into questioning my westernised sense of entitlement. I have more than enough to eat, a healthy child, healthy family, a comfortable and warm home. So why do I find myself honing in on a human factor many of us don’t often recognise? Vulnerability. I mean, these aspects of my life are considerably certain. Access to healthcare should the need arise, no major reasons for financial panic just yet. The sensibility of my Virgo star sign means I’ve done the maths and can make beans on toast look Michelin star.

 

 I’m reminded amidst my irrationality, of Brené Brown’s 2019 Ted Talk. She has spent her working life trying to understand vulnerability, empathy and shame. ‘The Call to Courage’ really gave some meaning to my feelings about life, my purpose and my experience of motherhood a while back. Exposing vulnerability as a trigger of alot of our fears but also our determination. Similarly a study in 2000 by Updegraff, J.A., & Taylor, S.E., entitled ‘From vulnerability to growth: Positive and negative effects of stressful life events’ .states..individuals [act] as active agents in restoring psychological equilibrium in the aftermath of a traumatic life event. […]traumatic life events initially take their toll by challenging people’s sense of meaning, their sense of mastery, and their self-esteem…

people are motivated to restore their self-esteem and sense of meaning and mastery by the production of self-enhancing cognitions[..]. For example, a sense of meaning can be regained by understanding why a traumatic event occurred and what its role in a person’s life will be, […]by either a causal attributional search or a rethinking of attitudes and life priorities.’The reality for me is that I am pretty resilient. I’m thankful for the tests in the months prior to lock down. Moving country, being an immigrant and becoming a first time Mum.

 

I had to make a choice at a certain point to turn pain into growth. The definition for trauma in the Cambridge Dictionary online is ‘(a) severe emotional shock and pain caused by an extremely upsetting experience’, similarly, Google tells me its ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.’

I don’t know about anyone else, but I can identify with those emotional states the last few weeks. I have recognised this experience as  a trauma. Not with a view to cause more panic or anguish for those that might not have characterised it as such. But ultimately to be transparent about how I feel, so that others are able to as well. I have so many friends and family questioning why they’re feeling unmotivated. Or like they’re “not doing enough! I want you to ask yourself, by whose measure? So instead of feeling bad that you’ve worn the same clothes two days in a row or, not used your exercise freedom. Can we practice acceptance? What we’re currently facing is outside of our control, but what can we take charge of? Spend the next hour in our safe space, our homes.  Pyjamas, or a free MoMA art class are both wins in my book. And ultimately, will you invest in positive opportunities for growth on the other side of this?

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