Shelter in place. Overwhelming worries about protecting the health of a loved one, or yourself. Concerns about paying bills, feeding a family or keeping a job. The current pandemic presents a number of crisis concerns for each of us, and it can be traumatizing for some. A trauma is a response that happens when an event triggers a hormonal response that our brain interprets to mean that we are in danger. There are ways to deal with trauma during the pandemic.
Is COVID-19 A Traumatic Event?
Most of the focus around COVID-19 is how to recognize the signs and symptoms and to stay home. What many people don't talk about are the mental health challenges that come along with an extended traumatic event.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a traumatic event is a shocking, scary, or dangerous experience that can affect someone emotionally and physically. This is exactly what is going on in our world right now.
What Are The Effects Of A Traumatic Event On A Person?
Everyone is different and everyone can experience trauma in different ways, said Jessica Crunkleton, MS, LMFT, LMHC, CADAC II, MATS, therapist with Franciscan Health EAP Crown Point.
"A traumatic event for one person, may not be a traumatic event for another," she said. "It doesn't affect everyone the same way."
According to Psychology Today, traumatic events can impair our ability to grasp or cope with what is happening, which can lead to a slew of emotions such as:
Is normal to feel like you're alone, but it's about how you handle the feelings and cope with the feelings, Crunkelton said.
How To Deal With Trauma During A Pandemic?
Seeking help is the most important step in coping and dealing with trauma, especially during a pandemic.
"Seek help, get help and support, because it is available," Crunkleton said.
Early intervention is important when dealing with trauma, to try to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Knowing that it is OK to talk about your feelings is a step that will help to cope during this pandemic.
What Other Steps Can I Take?
Despite the challenges we face during the pandemic, creating a sense of normalcy can benefit. That includes simple steps like setting a daily routine and maintaining relationships with others.
Creating a routine for children and adults is important during a pandemic.
"Eat breakfast at the same time, get ready as if you're going into the office or school and set a bedtime," she said.
Connecting with others, through technology, is another way to maintain relationships and deal with trauma during a pandemic. This is important so that you don't feel alone.
Need Help? Know Someone Who Does?
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:
By Ariel Anderson
Social Media Specialist