COVID-19 has taken its toll on humanity since the beginning of 2020, affecting every aspect of our lives—jobs, schooling, and mental wellbeing. As we slowly inch our way into the third year of the pandemic, it’s not surprising to see that mental health is at an all-time lowy.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 40% of adults in the U.S are currently struggling with mental health issues. Many have experienced serious trauma related to the pandemic as well, leading to higher stress levels that are significantly harmful to mental and physical health.
Symptoms of trauma
PTSD symptoms develop shortly after experiencing traumatic events but can sometimes take up to several months. These include:
· Reliving the experience: Affected individuals might relive their bad memories in the form of nightmares as they sleep. They might also suffer from intrusive memories that are different from simply recalling an event. PTSD makes the memory feel like it’s in the present.
· Avoidance and event-triggered anxiety: You might become easily upset or anxious by things that remind you of traumatic events, leading you to go out of your way to stay away from these reminders.
· More emotional: Emotional dysregulation happens when sufferers are unable to control their emotions or handle their responses in their usual manner.
Methods to cope
PTSD is not something that can be cured; however, it can be treated effectively. Psychotherapy is one of the best treatment methods for PTSD—usually consisting of a combination of exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy (CBT).
· Exposure therapy is a method of helping you confront your fear. You might be afraid of going out into public places once the pandemic is over, but you need to face it at some point. You can start off by heading to a local convenience store and slowly working up to busier places like the subway station. It’s alright to be anxious; recognize your anxiety as a response to a perceived threat while acknowledging that there is no real danger. With guts and consistent support, you’ll be able to heal.
· Cognitive processing therapy is a form of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and affect change over their beliefs surrounding specific events by understanding whether or not they’re rooted in actual truth. Memories of pain and loss can be devastating, but it’s important to remember that memories aren’t the events themselves. The past is in the past—and it’s one of the hardest parts of PTSD to reorient yourself with reality.
Seek individual therapy services
Support from your friends, family, and mental health professionals is vital for healing from this long and traumatic journey through the pandemic. At Stem Wellness, we provide psychotherapy services, including CBT, to help people struggling with depression and anxiety. Our services include individual counseling, family therapy, and marriage or relationship counseling in New Jersey.
Contact us to book an appointment today.