Learning to feel safe again
At the end of 2021, Victorians emerged from under the veil of the longest pandemic locked down stated based communities around the planet.
Media revved up a frenzy that we were finally free. The third booster had been released. The government were forced to relinquish the restrictions due to the immense pressure of Victorians saying “no more”.
In 2022, we tentatively entered a new year, which promised so much — what happened could never have been predicted.
An entire society was exhausted, battle weary and extraordinarily untrusting. People quietly uttered words of anger and frustration for missing so many life experiences during the pandemic.
I say quietly because frankly anything spoken out on social media got you shadow-banned and labelled a domestic terrorist. That sounds like I’m blowing that out of proportion, I know.
My business social media pages were repeatedly shadow banned for having the message “just do you” — a mental health message for people to take care of themselves.
I landed in the social sin bin on multiple occasions, with more than 300 posts being auto-deleted during the pandemic thanks to the Fact Checker — thanks to the Victorian Government’s mandated message “We’re all in this together”.
Creating a perception that we had fought a virus for two years, with snap lockdowns or restrictions, and threats to jobs, families and sanity, left society extraordinarily fatigued at the end of 2021.
In an effort to redeem political favour, tourism vouchers and benefits for industries were created — the economy was showing significant signs of collapse as the government of the day continued to sell state-owned assets.
At the same time, the housing market price exploded as Victorians fled out of the metropolitan areas and hundreds of thousands fled the state — half a million migrated north to Queensland!
The rental market availability ceased, as flood and fire refugees still wait to be rehoused. And people continue to feel resentful that their job security was threatened by forced participation in a gene therapy trial. (Note COVID vaccination wasn’t officially declared a vaccination by TGA until 2023).
Does this paint an accurate picture for you?
We haven’t fought in trenches.
There were guns at protest rallies, and citizens were shot with rubber bullets.
Armed forces were present at lockdown checkpoints — yes we needed permission to travel.
We did have food restrictions. Yes, we missed so much more than toilet paper on the shelves. We said goodbye to loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals from the car park as those people died.
Socialising ceased. And a deep-seated fear campaign continued to be pushed down our throats until we almost went mad. Yes, we were battle-weary and incredibly cautious last year. Our hope had almost been extinguished.
And then 2023 arrived, and we’re tired of being told what we can’t do. Many are voicing opposition. Many are angry. Many want a normal that may never return.
What I observe clinically is this — regardless of your view of the pandemic and injectables program, just reflect on the fear-based global campaign.
Where were the well-being and proactive health messages?
We collectively experienced PTSD across an entire community.
Children refused to attend school because they didn’t feel safe after having started their education at home with mum and dad.
Communication mechanisms stalled in children due to forced mask-wearing and not learning nonverbal cues or facial recognition.
Being locked away gave people too much time to sit and think. To dwell. To catastrophize and overthink. People formed very strong opinions and have emerged with post-pandemic behaviour that can only be labelled as entitled.
People were denied …
Individuals have been denied the ability to express themselves clearly without fear of reprimand.
The lockdown denied people the capacity and space to have any meaningful conversation about their thoughts and feelings. The fear campaign eliminated any capacity to publically voice hesitancy let alone objection — people were in fact arrested.
Without venting off the concerns and worries, the fear was simply magnified. This has left people feeling shell-shocked and desperate for a sense of normalcy. Yet they lack the capacity to find it.
Conversation topics became toxic because the same people were saying the same thing and the spoken word became groundhog day. The colour was drained from the dialogue.
All people did was vent out frustrations, yet there was no solution.
This created a society that was collectively stuck in fear-based emotions. Some of the emerging personality traits that I see clinically is an overwhelming sense of entitlement to override conversations because they simply need to be heard. This talking over someone then is misperceived by others as the forcing of acceptance of opinion.
No one wins here in this space.
When you stifle someone’s capacity to communicate through face-to-face conversation you lose your active listening skills. You miss nonverbal cues because you’re out of practice.
When you don’t see people you stop making eye contact with others when you talk. Simple eye contact could now make you feel uncomfortable.
“Please” and “thank you” seem to have taken a permanent vacation from public conversation.
When I work clinically my conversations include listening and validating someone’s feelings. Everyone has a story of the impact they personally experienced.
The pandemic forced a singular conversation topic and people now report their outlook on life has crumbled. They tell me they’ve lost their capacity to reframe or remain positive.
Your life doesn’t get better by chance. It gets better with change.
Here are some things you can do to feel safe once more
- Reconnect with friends and family over a shared meal — pausing to eat allows you to ease into a conversation.
- Rejoin your group activity or team sport — to be around small groups of people once more
- Practice meditation to soothe your nervous system
- Return to shopping inside the supermarket
- Shop locally and support your neighbours and their business — we love to see you in person
If you’re still afraid of the pandemic, if you’re struggling to re-enter society, if you’re struggling to reconnect then it’s time. Time for perhaps some tender loving care for yourself to admit this has hit you harder than you first thought.
Perhaps it’s time for therapy? I offer a range of support services such as group heart-meditation and group hypnotherapy for stress is coming soon.
Want to read more like this?
This is My Roar – signed copies of my first published book can be purchased from this website.
Practice The Pause – click here
5 Ways to Boost Self – click here
Karen Humphries is a Change Facilitator. She is a qualified Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, Intuitive Meditation Facilitator, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and published author. She is a self-confessed laughaholic. She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’