The stress of uncertain times, possible job loss, and the toll of social distancing will mean that the current coronavirus pandemic will upset daily routines and take a heavy toll on PTSD survivors.
No life has been left untouched by the coronavirus as people strive to stay safe and healthy, while also trying to adjust to the new social distancing regulations imposed on us as the best defense we currently have against a deadly disease. We’ve also been hearing a lot about how our most vulnerable citizens, such as those coping with PTSD, are being affected.
What is PTSD?
Exposure or involvement in a traumatic event can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The disorder can manifest in many ways, including flashbacks, isolation, nightmares, depression, and anxiety, to name a few.
People who have PTSD are more at risk of an episode during stressful situations such as the one the world is currently facing with the coronavirus pandemic.
How PTSD and the Coronavirus Can Affect You
There’s no doubt that everybody will be feeling some level of stress as the coronavirus pandemic tightens its grip on the world. The ability for news to rapidly spread through digital channels often serves to heighten emotional tensions rather than reliably inform.
For many people with PTSD, the regularly refreshed news cycle of doom and gloom is a trauma trigger.
If you are a PTSD survivor, you probably already feel the rising tension all too well. As we look around at the empty supermarket shelves and panic buyers overloading their carts with essential supplies, it’s hard not to feel alarmed. In a world gripped in panic, the stakes for people living with PTSD are much higher.
Three Steps to Lessen the Impact of PTSD During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Don’t Withdraw from the World
PTSD may make it feel like it makes sense to withdraw from the world to avoid facing any trauma triggers. However, maintaining contact with your support systems such as friends, neighbors, family, co-workers, and therapists is even more critical during times of uncertainty.
The global population has some tough challenges ahead, but keep in mind that the world is not ending and will soon return to normal. In the meantime, you are not alone.
To put the world back together, we need to stay apart for a time, but we shouldn’t do it alone, despite the social distancing measures. There are many ways to stay connected online and be part of a community, so research your options to find what works for you.
- Focus on Only Controlling What You Can
It’s easy to fall into a feeling of helplessness and loss of control during a pandemic. None of us know exactly how things will pan out, but we can all be sure that sometime soon, the world will return to normal. You can’t control everything that’s going on outside your home, but you do have some local influence over your fate. You should put your focus into only controlling what you can, which for most of us will be:
- Staying connected
- Following health industry guidelines
- Help someone you know who may be vulnerable
- Don’t obsess over the news
- Use your quarantine time constructively
- Keep tabs on your emotional state
- Take time out for yourself and have some fun
- Ignore the Rumors and Negative Media
There’s nothing positive about a pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you should obsess over everything that’s happening. However, bad news lures people in, so it’s good for the advertisers. For many sources, the facts take second place to advertising revenue. Stick to reliable sources, only check once or twice a day, and your mind will be in a better place.
You Can Still Get Help from Home
We’re all being asked to limit our movements outside of our home but help and counseling are still available should you need it. Grab your smartphone or laptop and schedule a video chat or talk on the phone if that’s easiest. It’s fast, secure, and straightforward, and above all, it means you will never be completely alone.
Learn about how online counseling works and how it can benefit you by reading about it here: Online Therapy