Managing your trauma- COVID-19

At the root of trauma is unpredictability. The inability to be in the flow of your life, not being able to know what next to expect, triggers immense anxiety and distress. COVID-19 has triggered you into a global trauma as well as triggered your own personal historical/past traumas.

Managing your trauma is all that is required of you right now.

Telling your story and hearing other people’s stories is a scientifically proven way of helping to manage trauma.

With this in mind, I share my personal story of the last couple of days.  In the telling of my story, I have woven in clinically tested methods used to manage trauma.

I took out my trauma toolbox and put into effect all that I have learned.

Though the details of your own current personal story is unique to you, I hope that my story will be of value to you.

At 3:00 am on Thursday I was woken by the sound of gunshots, and a commotion. This was followed by a text from my neighbor sharing that her husband had shot in the air to frighten off 2 men who had jumped over my gate, onto their roof. I froze in fear, sat up and began to breathe.

For the next 2 hours, I listened to meditation music and allowed the thoughts to pass through my mind and feelings through my body. Using mindfulness, I did not judge my fear, merely observed the thoughts & feelings and breathed through the sensations of body freeze.

The next day maintaining social distancing, I met my neighbors outside, and we shared the story, over and over again. I felt soothed and not alone. A handyman was fixing the gate and so external security was established immediately.

The rest of Thursday I felt very distracted.  I did a Pilates class and shared my story with my people, which immediately settled me enough to work. I asked for extra patrols from my security company.

Sunday morning early, I was woken with a text from my two other neighbors sharing that their houses had been broken into and looted.  Once again, I froze. And spent the next 2 hours in bed, knitting, listening to classical music.

By the time I contacted my beloveds, I was well regulated emotionally. Calm, still, and able to share my story in a manner that did not alarm them. I was also unable to take any actions to meet my immediate need which was for safety and security. I could not think rationally as my cognitive brain was offline. I was in survival mode.

Tasks were delegated to beloveds to secure my home. And my task was self-care, gratitude and self-compassion. I did a Pilates class. I sat in my garden. I journaled. I cooked a pot of soup for my son who is an infectious disease specialist and working on the frontline. And all the time, for hours and hours, I was online with my neighbors. Telling and retelling our stories of fear, anxiety, present and past, and as a community, coming up with plans so we could each feel safe and secure.

Right now, I have a personal guard outside my home. And inside my home; I am focusing on self-careself-compassion and gratitude.

 

TIPS ON MANAGING YOUR TRAUMA: 

  1. Accept that it is near impossible to separate from your anxiety/trauma
  2. Welcome the parts of you that are terrified. Ask them how you can help them not take over.
  3. Practice validation, kindness and care for yourself for enduring this pain and suffering by saying ”it’s ok to feel…”
  4. Rest in the present moment.  It’s called Mindfulness.
  5. Practice self-soothing / self-care behavior so you can regulate your own emotions. In turn you will co-regulate people around you.
  6. You will go into “WHAT IF’S”… what if  I/partner lose my job, get sick, want to end the relationship/house gets broken into.
  7. Follow this up with “THEN WHAT”… and make a concrete plan so you can set aside the “what if’s”. This will make you feel more in control of yourself and life.
  8. Old historic traumas may come up. Just notice them. And reassure them that because you survived past traumas, so you shall survive the present trauma.
  9. Practice compassion. Dr. Kristen Neff, the world leader in compassion, divides compassion into self-kindness, recognition of our common humanity, and mindfulness.
  10. Increase connection to others. Create communities.

~TELL YOUR STORY~

I INVITE YOU TO SHARE YOUR STORIES WITH ME – ANONYMOUSLY. AND WITH YOUR PERMISSION, I WILL SHARE THEM HERE. LET’S PRACTICE SELF COMPASSION, GRATITUDE, KINDNESS AND COMPASSION FOR OTHERS. FEELING COMMON HUMANITY IS DEEPLY HEALING.

 

THIS IS WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Living Losses | Julia Samuel, MBE episode of the little black fish https://open.spotify.com/episode/52zJGEkz4Bl7fWWdYD345H?context=spotify%3Ashow%3A7LY36AaeKUysP2IZf56DGF&si=qZxnnv4ERweMkJT-yvk-NQ

WATCH THIS **LATEST** VIDEO FROM GROOTE SCHUUR https://youtu.be/BuTupQiUtxw

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