I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have dedicated my life to supporting women and families that face the special challenges of anxiety, depression, and merging two families together.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen an increase of news reports stating that we are now
experiencing a new type of pandemic. It is the “Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.” The decision to
vaccinate against the COVID-19 virus for many has been a hotly debated one.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention “CDC” new cases of infection are on
the rise in nearly every state of country https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-
tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days. They also recently tweeted that “if you are fully
vaccinated the risk of infection is lower but you could still spread the delta variant, and that
“breakthrough cases” of COVID-19 do occur, but that most are avoiding serious illness.
https://t.co/tt49zOn1hf” They recommend wearing a mask to minimize transmission. No wonder
we’re all still feeling the impact of virus that has caused all of us to at minimum place parts of
lives on pause.
WHY ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS?
You may be saying to yourself “I thought we were at the tail end of this?” If you have said this to
yourself, you’re not alone. As many of us were just starting to breath a sigh of relief, and
emerging from our homes to resume so sort of normalcy, the delta variant came out of nowhere!
Now we are facing what is being called by news reporting agencies as the “Pandemic of the
Unvaccinated.” Just who are the unvaccinated anyway?
Well it’s as simple as it sounds. the “unvaccinated,” are those who have (for whatever the reason)
decided that vaccination against the Corona virus is something the have chosen not to do. From
professional athletes, to your everyday employee some folks would prefer to stay unvaccinated at
this point. According to an article “The 6 Reasons Americans aren’t getting vaccinated?
people aren’t vaccinating because:
The unvaccinated at not new. No, they have been among us for decades, and their aversion to
vaccines are not limited to just this one. There are large numbers of people who do not believe in
getting vaccinated against any disease. Rather, they would prefer to allow nature to self-correct.
WHY DON’T THEY JUST GET WITH THE PROGRAM?
Here is where this particular argument can get tricky. A woman I know recently shared her
“anger” and “annoyance” about fellow humans who opt not to take the COVID 19 vaccine. “I am
just so angry that my life and the life of my kids is being held hostage by the people who won’t
go out and get the vaccine, and to make matters worse, they won’t wear a mask to help protect
the rest of us.” This type of comment is not uncommon for me to hear on a daily basis, as a
Marriage and Family Therapist. Overwhelmingly, though I hear it from parents whose children
have been distance learning for nearly two school years. I also hear it from singles, and couples
who would like to return to less restrictive social activities. Some have not seen family members
for several months, and I am noticing an increase in the number of tween, and teen clients who
are “over” not seeing their friends, or just going to school. In the county of California where I
practice, 56% of the population has had at least one dose, and 49% are fully vaccinated. Why
does this matter you might ask? It matters because if you have been vaccinated at all you may be
experiencing anger, resentment, and anxiety around why you’ve “done your part” while your
neighbor may still be on the fence. Having these thoughts and feelings are a normal part of
processing stressful or uncomfortable feelings. How you act on them is where you may need
DEALING WITH THE WAVES OF FEELINGS
Emotions are like waves in the ocean. Some parts of the ocean are nearly motionless and
movement is hard to perceive. Other parts deep and strong. “Waves are created by energy
passing through water, causing it to move in a circular motion. … Wind-driven waves, or
surface waves, are created by the friction between wind and surface water. As wind blows across
the surface of the ocean or a lake, the continual disturbance creates a wave crest
Much like waves, our emotions are driven by winds; not the winds created in nature, the winds
driven by environment, and circumstances. When we experience strong intense change to our
lives we can feel like we are being tossed around and it can be hard to find our footing, and feel
safe. You can think of managing the everchanging news about COVID19 like a surfer riding a
wave. Riding the wave simply means, jumping on and and staying in the moment when it swells,
accepting that the wave is large and feels scary, then feeling the swell decline and become less
intense finally coming to rest at the shore of the ocean.
The reality is no matter where you fall in your value system on this topic, we all have to ride the
wave of the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated. Engaging in acceptance of harder emotions while
sustaining compassion for others who may think differently than you do is a part staying present
while the wave swells and then comes to a resting point.
If you or someone you know is struggling with managing emotions related to the pandemic
please contact me for support and resources.