by Douglas L. Anderson, PsyD
This pandemic does not want to leave us alone. It is a sinister, conniving thing that is finding new ways to cause illness and death. New and more challenging variants have resulted from its sneaky ability to mutate.
When crises come our way our first tendency is to ask "why." Mostly that gets framed as "why is this happening to me (or to us)?" But here's the deal - that question rarely helps us.
We think that if we can understand or recognize the cause or source of our struggle we will somehow feel better. We want to believe that if we know what or who to blame, then we may gain some internal control of our response or reaction to the situation we find ourselves in.
But that is not how it works, and for the most part I think we usually realize this. But it is hard to move away from asking why. What are better questions to ask?
“How” is a good start to many questions. How do I feel right now in the middle of my situation? How can I best approach the situation? How do I go forward in a good way in spite of my/our situation?
Let's give this a bit of context and then consider some examples. We are not yet out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Delta Variant is a nasty critter - more quick to spread among those who are not yet protected by a vaccine, and more destructive and deadly when it does rear up.
Asking “why” we have to face this virus is not particularly useful, even if we were to discover an explanation. We are better off asking questions like “How do I feel about facing another round of the pandemic?” Or, “How can I best approach this new challenge and remain both physically and mentally healthy?” Or “How can I protect those around me who have not yet been vaccinated?”
“Who” is a good start to certain questions as well. It usually is not particularly helpful to ask “Who can I blame?” Rather, consider asking “Who can I talk to when the situation I am in (whether it is the pandemic or any number of personal issues) is more than I can handle alone?”
The people in your life who love and accept you are a good start - certain family members and good friends. A trustworthy boss or supervisor can be helpful. A pastor of a local congregation is a good place to turn. And sometimes, when you need someone a bit more outside your system, or when your struggles are more severe, a good therapist is the person to call.
If you want or need to talk with someone who can walk with you through this difficult time, consider a therapist at River Counseling Services and Sioux Falls Psychological Services where we meet you where you are, offering hope. You may schedule an appointment with the Platte office at 605-337-3444, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls Psychological Services therapists from your own computer or smartphone. To schedule an appointment please call 605-334-2696.