Dear Dr.Eve – 16 November 2020 “Collective Trauma”

Dear Dr. Eve,

My name is Janek.  Of late I have been feeling a bit “off”.  Maybe it is related to Covid-19 as I have never felt like this before.  Luckily, I still have a job, I work from home, but many of my colleagues have lost their jobs.  My uncle died of Covid-19, I was really close to him and was unable to say goodbye.  I am still obsessed with watching the news, and as I see the world exploding with the virus, I feel more and more exhausted, helpless and unmotivated.  I am irritable with my wife and kids and really have no energy to talk to my friends.  Sex? What is that …

I think I need help.

COLLECTIVE TRAUMA

 

DR EVE REPLIES:

Hello Janek,

You are a human in suffering with the rest of the world.  And this world has now become upended for you.  Your body and mind are reacting to this unexpected trauma in a way anybody reacts to trauma.  Except this trauma is bigger than just an individual trauma.  It is a Collective Trauma.  You are responding to a traumatic event that is impacting you, your community, people you love, and the world around you. 

 

Collective trauma refers to the impact of a traumatic experience that affects and involves entire groups of people, communities, or societies. Collective trauma is extraordinary in that not only can it bring distress and negative consequences to individuals but in that, it can also change the entire fabric of a community.

 

It is leaving your body and mind struggling to process and cope.

 

It sounds as if you are a functional human, a functional person who has been able to get and even keep a job, create a significant partnership, and become a parent.  However, right now whatever you were doing to adapt to these life roles, no longer work for you.  You are trying to respond to the trauma surrounding you and within you.

 

TIPS ON SELF CARE DURING COLLECTIVE TRAUMA:

  1. Stay connected with people. Respect social distancing and quarantine, and make ultimate use of technology
  2. Return to basic trauma self-care: get sleep, eat well, exercise. These activities support your brain in regulating stress and allow you to process information … to think! 
  3. Put together a list of activities and objects that help you feel grounded, safe, bring you pleasure, and increase your quality of life.
  4. Minimize your exposure to news of the pandemic
  5. You are not alone in this suffering – be comforted with this knowledge 
  6. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion
  7. Seek out counseling if you feel the weight of this collective trauma is not lifting

 

BE SURE TO LISTEN TO ME TALKING ABOUT “COLLECTIVE TRAUMA AND FORGIVENESS” @8:00PM THURSDAY 19TH NOVEMBER, THE AUBREY MASANGO SHOW, ON RADIO 702/CAPE TALK

 

Take care

Dr Eve

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For more information please contact my PA Shantel:  shantel@dreve.co.za

Take care

Marlene

“Dear Dr. Eve” is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental condition. By submitting a letter, you are agreeing to let DR EVE use it—in part or in full—and we may edit it for length and/or clarity.

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