Coronavirus Lockdown(s) Create Adult Trauma, Isolation and Fear
The year 2020 will be remembered for one thing, intense fear of catching Covid-19, the novel SARS 2 Coronavirus that has killed hundreds of thousands and sickened multiple millions more. Those exposed to long bouts of this illness and survive, face long periods of convalescence. Some are unable to work for months and the loneliness and isolation of those simply working hard to avoid it, are devastating to the physical and mental health of many.
Death by suicide is increasing across the country. People have difficulty facing these feelings of isolation and the general stress around constantly avoiding this plague-like disease. A recent tribute Facebook post, for a life lost to suicide in Cardiff, begged those having difficulty to come forward and seek help. It pled, “If you know of someone having difficulty, reach out to them frequently and help them to get the help they need.” The isolation, uncertainty, and trauma around Covid can be enormous.
Dr. Gabor Mate, the Hungarian-born Canadian physician, specialising in childhood developed trauma said: “Our best way to understand trauma is by knowing what it's NOT. Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you.”
When we experience the trauma of sexual abuse, the suicide of a loved one, a soldier shot in the war, a child beaten or humiliated by a parent, absent caretakers, and stressed out babies… these are NOT the actual trauma. “Trauma is how the individual processes the painful event internally and why the healing of trauma needs to happen within the mind/body.” He added, “Our future life and the lives of our children are being affected by our unhealed past.”
It is so strange to watch premiere sporting events with empty stands. Imagine a person feeling that empty and hurt. Anecdotal information and gut feel are not enough, at Integrate we have developed some of the finest assessment mental health tools in the UK to uncover traumas and help people of all ages get the right care. While you can sense when someone close to you is in pain beyond a temporary period of feeling blue, through our assessments and treatment, we help them (and you) get the help they need.
For many, our traditionally stoic British “stiff upper lip” and ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude, carries most of us forward… until it no longer can. Ignoring these feelings is a prescription for disaster. Covid has overturned lives, destroyed family and business incomes, and created intolerable domestic and business stresses for many.
After nine months of on and off lockdowns with no end in sight, many suffer feelings of isolation, fear, panic, low self-worth, and general desperation. We can help those who are suffering from deep trauma. While most saw the first lockdown in March, depending on your comorbidity risks (age, weakened immune system, obesity, diabetes, race…), it either never ended or only briefly lifted in September and October to allow for the briefest and most superficial of family and other gatherings (outdoors) with friends. Spending each day working from home on Zoom conference, meeting after meeting is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. We long for and miss human contact and interaction.
In addition, 235+ days is a long time to spend worrying if this disease will catch up to you? What your prognosis would be with it? What to do in these economic times without an income or the potential loss of the roof over your head? What will you do over the long dark and cold winter to take care of your physical and mental health? That’s where we come in. If you feel stressed to the point of shutting down or unable to get moving each day, we can help.
You ask, am I at risk because of my kids or work environment? Will this infection spread across and throughout my family? Will my child at University bring it home with them for the holidays? Will school-aged children somehow infect their grandparents? These fears are a real weight that sit upon everyone’s shoulders. The fear of serious illness or death is but one risk. Many of those who recover from weeks in the ICU or after a long battle with this disease, face many often-dramatic longer-term health issues. This is an inflammatory disease that can attack multiple organs at once. So, it is natural to wonder, ‘why me?’ Or ‘why not me?’
In this new lockdown period, be aware of despair and angst amongst yourself and other adults, family members, and children around you. Let us be the ones to help you and your family through this period and emerge emotionally healthy and happy.