Mental Health Monday: Grieving missed milestones

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JACKSONVILLE, NC (WITN) - Spring is typically a season filled with major life milestones, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some people to cancel or adjust their once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Events like graduations and weddings look different than originally planned because of social distancing. Experts at Brynn Marr Hospital say this change of expectations can bring on feelings or grief or disappointment. While it’s normal, they say we still have the power to shift our perspective.

“We’re not missing out on these milestones. We’re given an opportunity to become more creative and put a positive spin on it,” said Intake Clinician Anna Simmermon (MA).

Simmermon says there are a number of ways to get creative, like holding neighborhood parades for graduates and birthdays or throwing virtual baby showers and gender reveal parties.

She says focusing on the things you can do right now can help cope with the changes.

“Rather than focusing on what can’t be, focus on what we do have and creating memories that can be special to everyone involved,” said Simmermon.

While this can all help, experts say it's still normal and important to grieve these milestones however you need to.

“It’s okay to not be okay. This is a perfectly normal feeling to have when our lives no longer feel like they’re predictable or when we’re feeling out of control,” said Simmermon.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can get professional help through Brynn Marr 1(910) 577-1400 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1(800) 273-8255.