Two months ago, I wrote the following post: When Trauma Triggers other Trauma(Racism)—Part 1. Today, we will talk about when trauma triggers other trauma in the area of abandonment. At the beginning of lockdown, everything was new and different. There was a vast sense of paranoia in regard to catching the virus. The questions that came to mind for most people were: Will I catch the virus at work? At the store? In my home from opening up the groceries? Taking a walk outside? The list became endless. There was a sense of emotions and dissociating stirring up inside me whenever I put on masks to go inside at work and at the grocery stores, as well as watching others with their masks on. Because the pandemic was trauma-inducing itself, initially I didn’t investigate the issue.
I also began to notice that the social distancing order caused me to dissociate and stir up certain emotions. But once again, just making it through the trauma of the pandemic was enough. Things were fresh and new, and I was going about my business as usual-until-yes, that is the magic word: until. Until people started asking each other how they were faring during the pandemic, whether alone or with others on social media. They were wondering how it felt to have to navigate the pandemic alone.
That’s when the giant drop occurred. For more on the giant drop, refer to this post. I had no other choice but to deal with the emotions as well as the dissociation. I was able to figure out that the social distancing and masks brought up old wounds of abandonment, and along with the abandonment, it’s friend named loneliness came along. I had to remind myself of the following: 1) that the trauma of the pandemic with the masks and social distancing aspects, along with the space involved, were triggering these feelings. 2) No one was leaving me. 3) I had to invoke a higher level of self-care. 4) I had to connect with others even more than usual, and even if that connection meant phone calls and Zoom, it would have to do. 5) I had to do deep breathing, and practice eye-focusing exercises to help ground me in the present time.
Initially, I realized that my self-care involved more music, reading, and outside time than watching television. I have found that sitting from watching television can actually be more anxiety and depression-inducing when you are going through hard times emotionally and mentally. It also helped when my son came and stayed for a few months right after my revelation of dissociation. However, before and after he left, I had already started implementing the four steps listed above. Thus, it made my journey even easier to navigate. The loneliness didn’t totally dissipate, but it became manageable with adding an extra layer of connection that wasn’t previously needed.
We all have different ways of dealing with trauma. What is helpful to one person may or may not be helpful to another. I am not a therapist. If your symptoms are causing you a heightened level of distress, seeing a therapist, or any other mental health professional is recommended.
Thanks and God bless!