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From Stifling to Facing COVID-19: Acknowledge, Assess, Assist

It has taken months for COVID-19 to progress from a warning to a national emergency. News of the COVID-19 outbreak began in December 2019 with a warning from Dr. Li Wenliang who was silenced by the police. His candor was reprimanded and he was forced to sign a statement denouncing his warning as unfounded. Since then thousands have fallen ill with Dr. Wenliang joining the numbers after contracting the virus himself. He died a month after his warning which set off an outpouring of grief including anger.

Adding to this tragedy are the lives, including Dr. Wenliang's, that could have been potentially saved had this illness not been stifled. On the other hand, is it really that unusual to deny, hide and stifle in the face of adversity and loss? Denial and shock are well acknowledged and assessed in various grief models as the initial stage of the grieving process after experiencing a significant situational loss - buying time to come to terms with the circumstances. We also live in a society that encourages denial and repression of negative emotion due to adversity. This may partially explain the policing behavior but it definitely does not excuse it.

You may be able to apply this example to your own personal circumstances by self monitoring with self awareness.. Is there anything going on in your life that is difficult to face? Denying, repressing, or stifling makes it difficult to face and address the reality of your situation. The most productive way to assist yourself is by acknowledging the reality as well as assessing the impact. By doing so, you are being true to yourself and can more readily assist in applying strategies to address the circumstances. If you assess yourself as in denial, compassionately acknowledge it and self monitor with self awareness. Seek out assistance as required for guidance so you can move forward stronger, just as action is now being taken with COVID - 19 in facing the circumstances that were originally denied.


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