PTSD, COVID-19 and Resilience

Young man sits and looks off into the distance in deep thought. - 4/28/2020

Any experience that threatens your life has the potential to cause PTSD. You also can develop PTSD if you witness such an event or know of someone close to you who experiences such a threat (i.e. your child, parent, etc.) These traumatic events can come in several forms such as:

  • Natural disaster
  • Combat or military action
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Serious accident
  • Act of violence

Healing can begin by accepting that your feelings are normal. That’s right. It’s completely normal to: feel on edge, have trouble sleeping, feel uneasy about going to work or functioning as you once did prior to the event. 

PTSD may be further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Survivors may feel isolated, agitated or anxious. If you feel that way, you are not alone. You are never alone. Resources are available to connect with people who dedicate their lives to helping others. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Feel empowered by practicing some controllable behaviors such as:

  • Washing hands 
  • Properly disposing of used tissues 
  • Coughing or sneezing into your upper sleeve, arm, or elbow if you don’t have a tissue
  • Staying at home if you are sick
  • Avoiding contact with those who are sick 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting objects or surfaces that may have come into contact with germs

As far as recovery is concerned, remember that everyone is different. There is no right or wrong way to live with PTSD. Some people start feeling better in a few weeks or months. For some people the trauma is a recurring event. Some rely on help from loved ones, and many also reach out to mental health experts for counseling and therapy. Each person learns what works best by living his or her personal journey. It is a very personal process that can be shared with and supported by others. 

Also, remember what science tells us. Studies have shown that roughly 50 to 60% of people in the U.S. experience traumatic stress, but only 5 to 10% develop post-traumatic stress syndrome. 

Never underestimate your resilience, and know that people are out there who love you and want to see you thrive. If you feel like your life is disrupted and you are having desperate or hopeless feelings and thoughts, take advantage of these resources: