by Caitlin Talbert, LPC
It’s been approximately one year from the time we began to experience the impact of a global pandemic. As this year anniversary approached I began to see a trend, a reemerging theme, as conversations reflecting on what was happening one year ago and what has been endured since started to surface. I began to hear expressions of sadness or melancholy, a lack of motivation, tiredness, and readiness for a new chapter. As with other times during the pandemic, a wave of similar descriptions of experience and stages of what I have referred to as grief started to be voiced and processed.
While each and every year may involve personal challenges, family struggles, financial issues, societal shifts…it is far less often that on a national or global level we face similar circumstances at the same time. This past year has involved a variety of issues; ranging from widespread illness, racial issues, political strife, and countless adaptations.
During prolonged experiences such as this it is important to maintain self-awareness. Otherwise, we may find ourselves minimizing the impact it is having. We may start to develop a numbness to the toll it is taking on us or a numbness to other’s emotions as well. Avoidance, disconnect, withdrawal, or apathy can be our minds' way of trying to survive ongoing hardship. While this can help us do that very thing (survive), we may also be silently suffering. Maybe you feel stuck in a way that is hard to put words to or understand.
There are some things that make moving forward or through our struggle not nearly as simple as it sounds. One of those things is trauma. Psychology Today defines trauma as a “person’s emotional response to a distressing experience.”
People often have a perception of what trauma involves, or specific scenarios that warrant the word trauma. People often minimize their experience of something that has since left a mark on their life. Psychology Today goes on to say that, “Few people can go through life without encountering some form of trauma.” It is quite reasonable to say we have all experienced some degree of trauma this past year, and to suggest that we are experiencing the effects of it even now.
While there are different forms or severities of trauma, sometimes referred to as “big T” Trauma or “little t” trauma, all trauma deserves our acknowledgement in order to deal effectively with its impact in healthy ways.
If you find yourself struggling with the impact of the past year or perhaps the anniversary of other difficult experiences in your past, at River Counseling Services and Sioux Falls Psychological Services we meet you where you are, offering hope. You may schedule an appointment with the Platte office at 605-337-3444, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls Psychological Services therapists from your own computer or smartphone. To schedule an appointment please call 605-334-2696.