As we’ve shared with our clients already, it’s important to continue with mental health treatment when possible during our current pandemic to provide stability to more tumultuous times. But many people who aren’t already under the care of a mental health practitioner may notice that with continued uncertainty, they also be feeling a bit unsteady.
Based on our operating definition of trauma, the COVID-19 experience meets a few hallmarks:
- The event is unexpected and unplanned. That sense of, “life isn’t supposed to go this way” can lead to traumatic outcomes.
- The event is life changing. Our day-to-day structure and and contents have shifted considerably.
- The event threatens our safety. Especially for those who are more immune-compromised, the statistics on our pandemic make us fearful for our health.
- There is nothing we can do about the outcomes; a person feels powerless to effect change in the situation.
It’s important to acknowledge that everybody experiences challenging times differently. While there might be ways of coping that are more or less healthy, there’s no “wrong” way to deal with trauma. For many people, survival is enough – at least to begin.
For those who have not experienced mental health treatment, there’s likely a few things happening under the surface that you should be aware of:
- We’re being asked to become careful about things like hygiene; these behaviors might melt into other areas and become more hyper-vigilance or cause anxiety around cleanliness. This can become a heavy burden and a slippery-slope.
- This may be bringing up unresolved events and experiences from the past, even things you thought were done and over. The emotions you feel may be triggering the emotions you felt in past events, and you may find yourself responding to today’s crisis in a way that feels “off” from what you would anticipate your response would be. This is quite normal with forms of trauma and is something to explore.
- This is normal. Handling traumatic events isn’t easy and no one does it the same way.
- It’s okay to ask for help. We see the best outcomes with trauma when people find support from others. Especially if your friends or family aren’t available to give you their ear with compassion and empathy, then please seek out the help of a professional.
- We are currently taking new clients, even during this strange time of social distancing. Mind Body Health Associates have had great success with our HIPPA-compliant Zoom platform and our clients have remarked about it’s ease of use and the comfort of being from home.