By Claudia Apfelbaum, LCSW
In the time of Covid-19, something good is happening, despite the tremendous social, physical, mental and financial costs. The “something good” is that we humans are having time. It is true that having so much time can be difficult. For years we have been running from home to work, to social events, to more work, to our fitness activities, etc., etc. Now some of us are wondering, what do we do with ourselves? What do we do with so much time on our hands? And, this is indeed a challenge, especially if you are living alone in a small apartment and have few resources. But I have been noticing, both in my practice and in my life, that something new and exciting is emerging.
It’s proving to be a time of reckoning. Personal and interpersonal. With family, friends and clients.
I just had a session and we processed something that happened three years ago. I acknowledged that I had missed the opportunity for an important conversation. My words of apology brought a “thank you.” I could feel that something got healed.
This time of reflection manifested itself in another client’s session. Instead of her usual response to family dynamics, i.e., being silent, she spoke to her brother about injustices she felt from him. I congratulated her for speaking up and I thought to myself, “maybe this comes from our work together, where it is okay for her to talk about her real feelings and say her real feelings to me.” I hope so.
We humans are re-acquainting ourselves with ourselves and one another. We are having time to walk and time to talk, time to play and time to be alone. For some of us, it is a time where we can repair our social relationships.
After years of silence, my husband is opening up and sharing real things about himself. My daughter is telling me where I went wrong in our relationship!
And, I am reflecting on my life. I am seeing where I made poor choices, what I can do to fix them and developing a design for my future.
A significant discovery occurred a couple of mornings ago. I realized that I felt truly socially isolated. I was not receiving many calls from friends. I had not been invited to a wedding for years. I had not gone to a party since forever. Then I thought of all the places where I had been part of a group and then, disconnected from the group. I saw that my social isolation was self-created. I wondered why I had disconnected from the various groups and could see that I had given my family and work high, too high, a priority. I also knew that this was something I could do something about and I started to do something that very morning. I made some phone calls. I wrote some emails. By the evening, I had some responses… I was lucky. I received positive responses in my desire to (re) join things. Some movement forward had begun.
I am excited by the opportunity this time of less activity is giving all of us. I encourage you to open up and share your reflections with the important people in your life. And listen to them as well! And, honestly, if you find this difficult, you could call me. I love helping people talk through their feelings and find ways to put them into words!