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It's Okay to Forget What's Going On

We are in a time of grief. Grief for the "normal" that we've lost, and anticipatory grief for what we fear may come.

One of the funny things that often happens when we're in grief is that when we somehow manage to get a quick pocket of peace where we're not actively mourning, when we actually briefly forget our current reality, then when we remember what's going on, we feel guilty.

It's funny! I mean, it's not going to rival the Three Stooges or John Mulaney, but it's funny that we are so desperate to feel some modicum of control that given the choice between helplessness or guilt, we'll feel guilt. Even if it's just guilt that for a brief period of time we weren't suffering.

But let it go, please.

Our brains are trying to take care of us, you see. We now have both our normal chronic anxiety (self-consciousness, generalized worrying) AND acute anxiety (a tiger is chasing after us and may eat us), both happening at the same time. And so our brains are kicking in and saying, "Babe, you need a break. Let's chill out for a second and enjoy this tv show or dinner or jigsaw puzzle."

And so for a bit of time, we may get a break, where coronavirus is not looming so large in our life, or it so retreats into the back of our attention that we momentarily forget about it.

That's not just okay. It's GOOD. It's healthy. It's what your psyche needs.

Look, don't forget so much that you also forget to take the necessary precautions. Don't be lulled into thinking it's okay to nonchalantly walk into a store or restaurant.

But at home, with all the safeguards in place ... relax. And for a while, forget.


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