Personal and professional life through uncertainties. Grégoire Vitry, Olivier Brosseau and Claude de Scorraille
Claude de Scoraille - Grégoire Vitry - Olivier Brosseau
Introduction Gregoire Vitry
After months of confinement, déconfinements and reconfinements, we will have multiplied the experiences of new and unsuspected situations, sometimes disconcerting, frustrating or painful, sometimes surprising, joyful and welcome.
We will have had to admit the reality of the disease and the need to protect ourselves with the means at hand, the families will have had to permanently integrate the presence of the children, between school monitoring and confined leisure activities, many will have discovered the flexibility and the constraints of teleworking and their consequences on family life, others the delight or idleness in the face of partial unemployment, others still the disarray in the face of job loss, the isolation of an elderly parent , the illness or death of a loved one and the inability to accompany them. Over the confinements, past, present and undoubtedly to come, our perceptions and our reality evolve.
Uncertainties remain and change face. Where and how do they present themselves to us? In work, in the family, in the individual? The impacts of this pandemic wave are already and will be massive on a psychological and emotional level.
We are interested here in the question of personal and professional life over uncertainties.
- what are we afraid of?
- what to do with this fear?
- how to live with children and work at the same time?
- how do you find time for yourself?
- can video conferencing break isolation?
- what to do with the screens?
- past the astonishment are we experiencing a collapse?
- how to create a link with family, colleagues or collaborators?
- how to reinvent life differently?
- how to regain control when everything is getting out of control?
- is food becoming the only lifeline?
- I find myself alone with myself: friend or foe? Drug or aperitif? Reading or depression?
Brooks et al. published this year in the Lancet a literature review on “the psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it”. A study comparing post-traumatic stress symptoms in quarantined parents and children with those not quarantined finds that average post-traumatic stress scores were four times higher in children who had been quarantined than among those who were not quarantined. 28% of quarantined parents in this study reported symptoms sufficient to warrant a diagnosis of a trauma-related mental health disorder, compared to 6% (17 of 299) of parents who were not quarantined. Another study of hospital staff examined depression symptoms 3 years after quarantine and found that 9% (48 out of 549) of the entire sample reported high depressive symptoms.
Finally, a survey carried out last month in China with more than 50,000 people has just been published in the Journal General Psychiatry concerning the psychological distress of the Chinese in the epidemic of COVID-19 reveals similar results with nearly 35% respondents who experienced psychological distress.
“The French and COVID 19, and you” by Olivier Gabriel BrosseauTo restore a photograph of the French and the way in which they approach confinement in the context of national management of the pandemic, I have selected 3 sources of information in order to introduce the information that Lact has also been able to collect since this period. through the various actions implemented.
1. There is not one, but many confinements → beware of generalizations: we are only representative of the category of confinement in which we find ourselves;
Depending on whether people experience their confinement:
- alone or with families
- in cities without space (small apartments without outdoor space) or in suburban or rural areas (houses with gardens)
- without being able to continue their professional activity or being able to continue it (either remotely, by telework, or face-to-face).
2. A relationship to time that changes with a loss of temporal reference that sets in, with the feeling of undergoing an acceleration of time (especially for mothers who continue their work remotely) or a slowing down of the time we finds welcome or too long (those who find themselves without a professional activity, partially or fully unemployed).
To occupy this time or structure it - 3 main types of activity emerge:
- 1. Cleaning - a very invested reflex of cleanliness linked to the unusual proximity of family members in a context where it is a question of decontaminating oneself (in particular hands and clothes to drive out the virus)
- 2. Consumption of entertainment content platforms
- 3. And do it yourself (cooking and DIY, in mind - then mask...)
3. Great variability of the emotions felt (between feelings of regained calm and worry/anxiety), which depending on the confinement configurations go and come over the information, experiments and representation that we have of the situation (measure our consumption / test new products / channel our mistrust)
With the beginnings of a phenomenon already observed in China, and which points now more clearly: the attraction for extra time devoted to leisure and activities can fade over time and can eventually be considered a chore; once the (re)discovery of extra time spent with the family, forced family time can become rigid, especially for children.
"Personal and professional life over uncertainties" by Claude de Scoraille
" Mom, you've come to help me with my homework, I didn't understand anything in the lesson!, darling, you take care of the children, I have to concentrate to work!, where are you on the project, I have to spin some info to the CEO?
I need you to send me the report now, have you finished it?, what are we doing for dinner? Who makes the meal? When do you stop working? Hurry up, it's the webapéro with the Duponts! "I don't know what to do, I'm bored... " These
words inspired me to tell you about the difficult balance between personal life and professional life that confinement has exacerbated.
I had the opportunity to hear them during numerous workshops carried out by LACT in recent weeks within French and international companies as well as with groups of managers and employees, and as well as during my therapeutic consultations. .
The reality caused by the covid 19 virus, a virus that we know through its name whose acronym is Co for corona, Vi for virus, D for disease and 19 because it was identified in 2019!
Apart from its name, we know little about it and when we think we know we finally realize that we don't know much, from its genesis to the degree of threat it represents for human beings on a planetary scale.
What is certain is that its presence in our environment immerses us in an unprecedented reality that affects our lives, our perceptions and our behavior in all areas of our daily lives. “ To live is to navigate in a sea of uncertainties, through islets and archipelagos of certainties on which we refuel ”, says Edgard Morin.
With covid 19, our world in which we were immersed in a certain balance between personal life and professional life was suddenly called into question.
We are confined, at home and this personal territory has become the theater of work or hasty unemployment, of the crèche and of the school for those who have children, of the family, of the couple or of individual isolation. We must both learn to structure a new time to respond to the requests of others, those who make up our personal and professional daily lives or ours, and also learn to delimit a unique territory within which we are the target of various claims, relentless and unpredictable. Giving meaning, the search for certainties
It is unbearable for human beings to live in a world that seems unpredictable, hazardous and chaotic.
And it's linked to the fact that we think what we live. To feel safe we need our world to be organized and coherent, starting from a certain order, and when this is the case we give it meaning by describing it using our language and therefore our thinking. When there is a gap between the expected reality and the perceived reality then emotional reactions are triggered and intensify as long as we are unable to reconstitute a harmony between the different elements of knowledge that mark out our life.
This presupposes managing to stabilize a balance based on what one experiences in the relational system made up of the relationship to oneself, to others and to the world. This balance balances two complementary needs, certainties and uncertainties: to feel alive in security
The need for certainties
We need certainties for a fundamental sense of security to take hold.
Certainties make our reality predictable and stable and that is reassuring.
The professionals we met all expressed expectations of good practices for approaching remote work, they need certainty about designing a relationship “without seeing each other”, whether it is the working relationship or of any other nature. and then more and more they express a need for certainty about the future and post-lockdown.
The need for uncertainties
But we also need uncertainties because these bring us the dose of excitement we need for our vitality, that of our body, our mind and also from an emotional point of view.
Uncertainty puts spice in our lives. “ Uncertainty, Hesna Cailliau tells us, awakens our inner fire so that it creates its own stars ”.
Edgar Morin deplores that "we only teach certainties at school, never uncertainty" Yet when uncertainty is familiar to us, it stimulates our human qualities to be innovative and creative in order to face the unknown and the hazard.
It is moreover for Edgar Morin a principle of life: “always expect the unexpected”, it is like that, he says that he escapes anxiety. Uncertainty turns into worry when the taste for adventure and risk is lost.
If we cling to our certainties we risk falling into what Giorgio Nardone calls the psychotrap of perfect reasoning. The psychotrap of perfect reasoning
We fall into this trap when, in order to calm the anxiety and anguish that drives us, we seek certainties using our rationality alone.
Our rational thought leads us to separate, to isolate, to oppose. We compare, we eliminate and suddenly we lose sight of information related to interdependencies and interconnections that would allow us to seize in the present reality opportunities for possible change or entertainment in our environment. One of my patients told me that when she is anxious she goes into her thoughts, she looks for information in the past and also wanders into the future;
she searches for answers by means of her thoughts in an obsession with security, but it doesn't work, she feels bad all the time and can no longer concentrate on anything, she benefits from nothing.
She feels unable to do anything, because to act she would like to be certain that things will go well. She tries to make the "right" decision but she can't. The only way to get out of this type of trap is to be able to enter the experience by living with the feeling of insecurity as if we were able to feel our fear while acting, without trying to fight it, in an acceptance serene of his presence and it is in this way that we manage to make our decisions good.
Dealing with uncertainty means being able to act by questioning habits, which can, like certainties, become servitudes when you cling to them.
By accepting to grope, and to make mistakes, we learn to do things differently, we gain agility and flexibility, we are able to seize the opportunity that presents itself.
Obviously, the more we can share with others our perceptions and our ways of reacting to them in the experience, the more we are enriched with new possibilities for acting. The collective workshops that we have carried out within companies have been an opportunity for groups of managers and employees to develop a relational rationality, that is to say a rationality that creates a relational framework so that individual actions have a space for initiatives with the least risk and where error is admitted and shared as an opportunity to improve.
In this way collective responsibility and individual responsibility harmonize according to the rules of a game where either we win together or we lose together.
At the center of concerns, the need to keep the link was widely expressed.
Over the course of the exchanges that we have facilitated, many immediately accessible resources have been designed and validated as immediately accessible, such as, for example, the fact of putting informal aspects in the foreground of professional exchanges, whether for example taking time to talk about everything except work, to allow yourself to be disturbed by the intervention of children rather than absolutely wanting to keep them at a distance during work time, to review the way of structuring your time, according to a rhythm more representative of the present constraints, or quite simply to open the webcams to create conviviality.
To build my presentation, I also looked at the comments of the various speakers who were held during our conferences on the challenges of confinement, whether Robert Neuburger (intimacy, couple and family in times of confinement), Claudette Portelli and Matteo Papantueno (creating a new reality), or myself (dealing with emotional distress situations related to COVID-19 and COVID 19: from fear to emotional distress, reducing the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder).
They inspired me to think about the conditions for pragmatic and innovative optimism, the implementation of which I believe is accessible to everyone, you, us and our patients.
Here is the principle: 1. Accept the change of context and the need to connect differently to create a secure and more harmonious reality.
Which amounts to living daily as if we were able to live with uncertainty and the emotions it triggers, in a serene acceptance, because trying to fight in a confrontational way against too intense emotional discomfort is doomed to failure. . 2. In this way, we are able to lower the emotional level, and thus we gain in security which opens the possibility of taking advantage of this time of confinement to carry out in-depth reflection alone and/or with others, family members, friends or work colleagues for example.
3. From this reflection, it becomes possible to think of light actions accessible to the present possibilities even if they seem very small to us.
It will be a question of avoiding as much as possible trying to return precisely as before or to setting objectives of change impossible to implement immediately. 4. These actions can then be tested, we will see their effects, we will correct them if necessary, or we will consolidate them and thus we will walk towards the victory of the life challenge with which the situation confronts us, in the personal and professional domains.
The optimism we all need is built on seeing what's wrong and deciding to bring what's right to life.
Tags: acute stress , Challenges of COVID