Recognize when COVID-19 conditions trigger past feelings of entrapment.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, May as “Mental Health Awareness Month, is a great reminder to pay attention—perhaps, more than ever—to our mental health. Along with the deadly threat to our physical health, the coronavirus has brought unimaginable changes and losses. In times of natural disasters, of which this pandemic is one, the psychological impact of stress, anxiety, and trauma responses are inevitable.
Given the impact of Covid-19, recognizing the most common reactions can feel normalizing and that helps us to cope. But when these normal reactions trigger past traumatic events, we can find ourselves in an even more uncomfortable psychological state. This can be true for individuals with histories of having lived with an abusive intimate partner.
Normalizing Our Responses
Is what we are experiencing and feeling normal for this time? To know what the common conditions are, can help us to feel grounded and experience some sense of commonality with others that can offset feelings of insecurity and isolation.
It’s inevitable that we’ll feel anxious, insecure, and scared given that the pandemic has caused serious threat and danger to our lives. We are aware of the thousands of lives lost that can exacerbate our fear.
We can feel sadness, anger, and grief from many losses such as people we know; meaningful work and time with co-workers; income; school/college and socializing with peers; and enjoyable activities with family and friends that we cherish.
We can feel irritable, lonely, and isolated by the social distancing.
We can experience depression with fluctuations in our mood where some days we might feel low and less attentive to things and other days are more manageable and we make progress.
Feeling helpless or powerless to make a difference in our lives can be a challenge and get exacerbated by not knowing a clear and concise path forward.
Although the mental health conditions can be uncomfortable, they are more or less unavoidable to various degrees as we go through the pandemic requiring us to manage the best we can. However, when these symptoms or conditions become strong triggers to past traumatic events, we can find ourselves all the more challenged with coping.