Sex and Salt Lake City

A collective, global grief

The threat of abortion being completely overturned.
Climate change.
Fires.
Flooding.
Covid surges.
Race inequalities.
Food insecurities.
Home shortages.
Homelessness.
Skyrocketing inflation.
Refugees in turmoil.
Overworked and underpaid.
Isolation.
Loneliness.

The list goes on and on and on. Gauging from the conversations I’m having with clients, the collective depression, anxiety, and trauma we’re experiencing is real. We are grieving — a collective grief. A global grief. Our human coping mechanism is to keep looking forward in the hopes this will all pass and get better. And at the same time, over the past couple of years, most have experienced a level of things just getting harder. If you feel fatigued by it all — you’re not alone.

The grief we’re facing today is both from a loss of life pre-covid and an anticipatory grief. With so much unexpected that has altered our lives in such a short time … we become anxious about what could be next. It would be helpful to muddle through this if the stages of grief actually followed one another in order. But unfortunately, they do not – especially when there are so many things to tackle and grieve at once.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, Acceptance — We can experience each of these stages at different times for the various things listed at the beginning of this article — as well as others. So what the hell are we supposed to do about all this grief without feeling hopeless?

Come Back To The Present. It’s easy to future fear and allow our thoughts to run amuck with “what if” scenarios. Mind you, these fears are very valid, and not knowing what the future holds can be really scary. But planning and preparing are possible to do while at the same time letting go of its hold on you. Plan what you can and come back to the present with the knowledge that there are some things we just cannot control. Deep breaths in, to the count of five, and then out to the count of 5, repeated several times may seem rudimentary, but are highly effective in calming our senses and bringing us to the present.

Seek Support. One of the best things to come out of these past couple of years has been the number of support groups that recognize just how much so many of us are struggling. I’ve had a couple of clients fear that sharing their level of grief or depression with others would make them feel worse, many times to discover the opposite is true. Joining with other people who are also struggling through this time can be validating and freeing. Recognizing you’re not alone is powerful. Support groups can be found through local Pride Centers as well as by looking under the search bar on both FaceBook and MeetUp.

Have Compassion — not just for others, but yourself as well. Times are hard. We are facing things that no generation before us has. It can be confusing and displacing and overwhelming. Many times we find it easier to hear other people out about their hardships, offer an ear, a shoulder, some comfort. But then when it comes to ourselves we tend to get impatient and engage in negative self-talk. The you that inhabits your body is just as valuable and deserving of compassion, comfort, and care as all the individuals living outside your body. Too often we navigate the world by making room for others and making ourselves smaller. Stop that. It’s okay to ask for what you need. We are each our own best advocate. Sometimes self-care looks like getting outside and taking a walk with a friend. Sometimes self-care looks like a hot bath and a bowl of ice cream. Whatever you choose to do, be kind to yourself in the process.

Take Action. If there is something that is really calling to you and you want to see changes, consider joining with others who are taking action. Part of grief is the feeling of defeat. That defeat is oftentimes lessened when we feel we’re making an effort to be a part of the change we want to see. However, when doing this it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in more negative self-talk and believe that whatever you’re doing isn’t enough or isn’t as good as what someone else is doing. Know that whatever good you’re doing has a positive effect on the world around you — whether directly or indirectly. No kindness and action are too small.

What is. Lastly, recognize that sometimes “what if” can mean … “What if everything turns out okay?” “What if — I am okay?”

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a clinical sexologist who divides her time between Salt Lake City and Palm Springs, Calif. She can be reached at [email protected]


Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a graduate level Clinical Sexologist, with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Doctorate Degree in Human Sexuality. As a Clinical Sexologist, she believes a large part of her job is to be a sex enabler. Through counseling, workshops, and hands on exercises, she assists others in achieving the level of sexual function they desire. She enjoys the study and research of not only what people are doing sexually, but how they feel about it. Dr. Laurie divides her time between Los Angeles California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to seeing clients in either of her offices or via skype, she is President for the non-profit, Sex Positive Los Angeles inc. (SPLA) and recently began a chapter in Salt Lake City, (SP-SLC). Her non-profit offers sexual education and support programs throughout Los Angeles and Salt Lake Counties. Rounding off her work, she is an IPSA certified Surrogate Partner Therapist working with clients and therapists in a triadic model to assist in bringing clients comfortable with their sexual selves. Dr. Laurie can be found in various publications; radio, podcast, and television interviews. For individual consultations or appointments please contact her at [email protected] Welcoming and affirming of all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all sexual and relationship expressions.

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