Trauma from the Covid Pandemic: by Empower Counseling
Trauma from the Covid pandemic is real. As stated in our previous blog post, “Big T” and “little t” Trauma: By Empower Counseling, many different events can cause trauma responses in individuals. Not everyone responds to trauma in the exact same way but there are some responses that are more common than others.
What are the most common responses to Trauma?
Some of the most common responses to trauma are:
Feeling alert or on guard all of the time
Having upsetting dreams
Avoiding anything that triggers thinking about the event(s) which caused the trauma
Problems doing your work
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Feeling separated or detached from others
Loss of hope regarding the future
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
All of the above reactions are normal responses to experiencing a traumatic event(s). However, these symptoms should decrease and subside after a few weeks.
You might experience emotional difficulty as a result of trauma. This difficulty may look like feeling…
Shocked or numb
Nervous, anxious, helpless
Abandoned, lonely, rejected
Like you are to blame (Seeing yourself, others, and the world in negative way)
Unable to believe or trust other people.
Lastly, there are common physical responses to experiencing trauma like:
Rapid heartrate and rapid breathing
Headaches when you have thoughts about the trauma
Not taking care of yourself the way you used to with diet and exercise, etc.
Using drugs, alcohol, or food more than you did before the traumatic event(s)
Having previous medical issues worsen
Having difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
Trauma from the Covid pandemic
Even if you do not recognize any other traumatic events in your life before the Covid pandemic, the pandemic could have triggered a trauma response. The pandemic was traumatic for so many people because a variety of circumstances.
For immunocompromised people, leaving the house at all triggered fear of death, like Covid could kill them at any second. This triggered thoughts like “Will I ever be able to safely leave my house again?” causing severe anxiety, panic symptoms. Even though Covid was not a sudden tragic event, it was a slow-moving, long lasting disaster without a brightline beginning or ending.
You do not have to be immunocompromised to have suffered the traumatic effects of the Covid pandemic. A survey completed by the American Psychological Association found that the demand for mental health treatment increased in 2021. More individuals were seeking therapy for the following:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
Substance abuse and addiction disorders
If you combine the symptoms of the above disorders it looks very much like a trauma response.
Research has shown that if you suffered trauma prior to Covid, you might have experienced a stronger PTSD response after Covid than those who had not experienced trauma prior to the pandemic.
Could I Have PTSD from Covid?
PTSD is a psychological condition which occurs after a traumatic event. There is a vast range of events that could cause PTSD, including:
Losing a loved one during the pandemic
Being Immune Compromised or having health anxiety and fearing death from Covid
Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse before Covid
Having childhood trauma in addition to the pandemic
Feeling unsafe in your environment during the pandemic
What does not Help PTSD from Covid?
At Empower Counseling over the last few years we have asked our clients what they experienced during the pandemic. What we have noticed in a large percentage of clients who minimize their own trauma suffered during the pandemic.
Teens and college students who missed major milestone events like graduation, or prom, or sorority rush or went off to college and had to quarantine in their dorms, could have experienced trauma and the lasting effects of that trauma.
Young adults who graduated during the pandemic but had trouble finding a job due to the pandemic, suffered great stress about their futures.
Small business owners who had to shut down for months suffered large amounts of stress regarding the future of their businesses and their financial security.
And everyone who worked as a first responder or in a hospital suffered huge stressors daily for extended periods of time and could not take the time and space to even process their own emotions. These individuals have been disproportionately traumatized during the Covid pandemic.
Many lost important loved ones in their lives during Covid and were unable to say goodbye.
What we have noticed since the pandemic is clients who suffered trauma during the pandemic either are not recognizing their experience as trauma or they are minimizing it if they do not see their own trauma as being the worst from the pandemic. When we ask what they experienced during and as a result of the pandemic many have said some version of “I was lucky. I can’t complain because none of my family members died.” And yes, while these clients are fortunate in that they did not lose a loved one, that does not mean their trauma was not real and that they are not suffering consequences from that trauma, and even PTSD.
Minimizing your trauma does not help and does not make it go away.
What does help to treat trauma and PTSD from Covid?
Acceptance Commitment Therapy has been proven effective in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. Through ACT with Empower Counseling, you can learn exactly how trauma is affecting you, which is the first step in treatment. We will use mindfulness for you to recognize triggers and the your response to these triggers. Then we will reframe and restructure how you see yourself, others and the world so that you can create a positive future for yourself.
How do I get started with therapy for Trauma and PTSD?
- Click here and scroll down the home page to request an appointment
- Get to know your counselor
- Begin healing.
Trauma therapy is not the only type of therapy we offer at Empower Counseling, our Birmingham, Al. counseling clinic. We serve Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, Hoover, downtown Birmingham, and the surrounding areas. At Empower Counseling we specialize in anxiety counseling and counseling for depression for teens, college students, young adults, and professionals. If you are struggling with a difficult life transition, we can help. Reach out to Empower Counseling today and begin healing