A tragedy isn’t the only thing that can send you into a combination of total shock and extreme exhaustion.

As you can imagine, when I lost my husband and then my son, both to suicide, I entered into a state of shock both times.

But this pandemic that’s forced all of us to leave the life we’ve always known behind, that can send anyone into shock too.

What comes with shock is that you get blown out of your world. Your new existence feels surreal all the time.

You go through shock mentally and emotionally.

You get up every morning wishing it was different.

You replay events over in your mind to try to make logical sense of them because your brain can’t connect the dots.

It’s a whole different place of being.

shock and exhaustion

The Symptoms

Meanwhile, physically you suffer from erratic sleep patterns and a loss of appetite. In tough times, I’ve had to listen to the “calm” app every night to put myself to sleep.

Shock also sends you on a spiritual quest. You may start questioning your faith. For myself and Laurel, faith helped us get through our tragedies. We know everything has a purpose.

After my husband died, even though I was in shock, I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. There were a number of things I had to take care of right away: paperwork, the service, getting Laurel back to college, helping my son move to Arizona for a new job he was starting…


Carey Conley and Family

Sheer Exhaustion

Shock goes hand in hand with exhaustion because you’re just surviving hour by hour, trying to figure out what to do next. That time in my life is such a blur that I don’t even remember months of it.

You’re painfully tired because while you don’t have any answers, you’re trying to fix the situation in your brain. Your brain works on overload trying to solve an unfixable problem.

What’s even more exhausting (if that’s possible) is the conversations you are forced to keep repeating.

Every time we had to tell someone what happened, their initial reaction was that of shock and then remorse, and each time, we had to feel those emotions all over again too.

Protecting Yourself

With Covid-19, it’s in every conversation. The topic is impossible to escape. The situation is so repetitive and oh-so tiresome.

One important way to protect yourself in times like these is to give yourself boundaries, and to not feel guilty about doing it. It’s for your own protection.

If we don’t take care of ourselves first, and put boundaries around our time, we won’t be much good to anybody.

Putting boundaries around how much time you talk about what’s going on in the world and who you talk to about it, you’re protecting yourself in a strategic and productive way.

When Laurel and I decided to co-author Keep Looking Up, our initial goal was to help people understand how to transform grief into hope after tragedy.

​​But it ended up being so much more. It’s for people who need guidance around a personal tragedy, those who’ve already been through it and wonder how we coped, and for others who want to know how to help a friend or loved one dealing with a tragedy of their own.

We’ve found that loss could be that of a relationship or a loved one, but no matter the situation, what comes after is similar.

While we are all collectively grieving right now because of the situation in our world and the loss of normalcy, remember to Keep Looking Up.

Vision is Victory,

Carey's Signature