PORTLAND, Maine — Grief, anxiety, fear, worry, guilt, depression, loneliness. These are names of emotions that Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Dawn Ascanio is hearing her clients and others express these days during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.
"These are all normal reactions to an abnormal situation. And you are not alone in feeling them," Ascanio said.
Ascanio said we have all experienced loss as a result of the pandemic. We miss our friends and loved ones. We miss our routines and co-workers and classmates. Proms, graduations, and weddings are being canceled. Concerts and events that we were looking forward to are now off.
There is a name for what we are feeling: grief. That can spur feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety and more.
Some people feel the need to put on a brave face for their families, so they are burying their feelings and keeping busy with finding a new normal for themselves and their households.
But burying feelings doesn't make them go away. Ascanio believes acknowledging those feeling, putting a name to them and allowing yourself to feel them is far more healthy. It helps you understand why you acting and communicating the way you are, and allows to you then move forward in finding ways to cope with them.
Some people's emotions can swing wildly and quickly in an instant, from say worry and fear to appreciation for others. "You may feel you are on an emotional roller coaster right now. But that is normal, too."
"The important thing is that everyone grieves differently, so you need to show yourself and others grace through these difficult times," Ascanio said. "We are all in this together, and none of us are alone in what we are feeling."
Ascanio encourages people who may be struggling to connect with a counselor. Many are seeing patients on-line throughout the pandemic. You can check out a list of LCPC's in Maine through the Psychology Today website. It includes bios of each counselor so you can find one that seems like the right fit for you.
Full interview with Counselor Dawn Ascanio:
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus