The Corona Virus Pandemic is causing some level of trauma for all of us and with trauma comes a variety consequences.
“Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited. Indicators of more severe responses include continuous distress without periods of relative calm or rest, severe dissociation symptoms, and intense intrusive recollections that continue despite a return to safety. Delayed responses to trauma can include persistent fatigue, sleep disorders, nightmares, fear of recurrence, anxiety focused on flashbacks, depression, and avoidance of emotions, sensations, or activities that are associated with the trauma, even remotely.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207191/)
Consider for a moment the following. We are not on the other side of this, so we are not yet safe. We are still being traumatized. We are like refugees in a war torn land, or parents that have missing children with no answers, or a victim of domestic violence who has not yet escaped. We are still fully in this experience. Many of my friends have expressed sadness, anxiety, and fatigue. I have felt that, too. I am trying to use the arts as I have before to help me cope. These tools are helpful, but while still in the experience of trauma, it is different. I am not able to just sit down and create like I usually can.
You may not be as productive as you were before this, and if nobody has told you this yet, that is normal. Trying to process all the changes in our routines and new worries about our health and the health of our loved ones is a big deal. I am going to sign off with a couple of questions for you to ponder.
How can you give yourself a break?
How can you encourage your friends and family to give themselves a break?
Once we get through this we can start returning back to some routines and being more disciplined, but in the meantime, when it is possible, let’s give ourselves a chance to catch our breath. It’s not a time to try to be perfect and push our limits. It’s a time for extreme self- care where there is an opportunity. Some of us have small windows to give ourselves a break. Use those times to refuel. This event is sad and devastating, but we will get through it. It will get better. Keep looking at all of the good that is being done, think about how you can reasonably help, and when there is a chance, give yourself a break. We will see better days again. Peace to you all and take care.