Millions of Americans are grieving loved ones taken by Covid-19. Yet even outside of a pandemic — with its staggering losses of lives, homes, economic security and normalcy — grief is hard work.
“The funny thing about grief is that no one ever feels like they’re doing it the right way,” said therapist Claire Bidwell Smith, author of “Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief.” But there is no right way, she insisted. The only “wrong” way is to not do it.
What often trips people up is misattributing the sensations of grief-related anxiety to some unrelated cause. “Probably 70% of my clients have gone into the hospital for a panic attack following a big loss,” Smith said. After doctors rule out physical illness, clients come to her for counseling, frequently struggling to understand the link between their physical symptoms and bereavement.
This becomes especially problematic in grief-averse places like the United States, Smith explained.
With more than 4 million reported Covid-19 deaths worldwide since December 2019, grief and loss have touched an untold number of hearts and minds. Smith recommends connecting the dots between loss and anxiety as a critical first step toward healing.