May 27, 2020

Can the Global Pandemic be Considered a Trauma?

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Trauma, Grief & Loss and with tags: PTSD/Trauma, trauma

Woman experiencing pandemic trauma

The swift change in the way we live our daily lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic has many of us feeling lost and confused. Mix in the practice of social distancing and the disconnect from our family and friends and many people are experiencing a collective trauma. Join me as I talk with trauma specialist, Becky Reiter on how the COVID-19 pandemic can be considered a trauma.

Watch the video and read a summary of it below.

Are we in a Trauma Right Now? Are we Globally Experiencing Trauma with this Pandemic?

Yes. I’ve heard it referred to many things like a global trauma. This is the first pandemic that we’ve had that has been fully collective trauma at this scale.

What Does it Mean When we use the Word Trauma?

How to Recognize Trauma in your Body

  • Trauma lives in the body. Trauma shows up in the body in multiple ways. You may have a lot of anxious thoughts. The way it shows up in your body will be a lot of chest tightness in your neck and shoulder tightness. You feel like you constantly want to move your restless.
  • On the flip side, it could be feeling unmotivated. You may notice you’re sitting on the couch more or watching more TV, just trying to do a lot of things to numb.
  • Feelings of sadness. You may have heard it’s a grief process right now in that our life that we knew is lost. You could be having so many different emotions, anxiety, depression, anger, sadness and you have all those feelings also in your body. And they feel very stuck for a lot of people because there’s not a way to mobilize your body and express your feeling.
  • Trauma happens from too much too fast. With no time to prepare or any transition from living our normal routines to a quick switch to working from home and social distancing from our friends and loved ones, this pandemic is a psychological trauma in many ways. 

What Can we do to Cope?

  • Movement is so important in your body and it doesn’t have to be any specific type of movement. You want to do slow, gentle movement. That can be standing up and doing stretches. Raise your head to your shoulder, stretching out those specific muscles very slowly. You don’t want to throw yourself into strenuous activity. Do a lot of gentle movement that you feel comfortable with and really listen to your body and feeling how it wants to move and what feels good to your body.
  • If you’re having a lot of racing thoughts due to anxiety, trouble sleeping. Try some gentle stretches before you go to sleep, to slow your body down and slow down your nervous system.
  • This slow gentle movement can help with racing anxiety-induced thoughts or when you are feeling symptoms of depression such as feeling unmotivated or sad but also being mindful of what sensations you are experiencing.
  • The key is that we’re what we’re trying to do is soothe the trauma that’s present.

Read more about using grounding techniques to soothe difficult emotions. 

Coping During a Pandemic Support Group

trauma from global pandemicEddins Counseling Group, Houston, TX is currently facilitating a weekly virtual Coping During a Pandemic support group. It meets Mondays from 6:30-7:30 PM. This group is designed to offer support, connection, and hope. Learn more about this group and submit an interest form here.

We also offer online individual therapy sessions. Call us today at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.

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