Trauma Anniversaries: Pandemic Edition

If you’ve been struggling more than usual lately and aren’t sure exactly why, read this. I share information about what trauma anniversaries are, why they happen, what it may look like for you, and some resources for coping and processing.

My hope is that this concept may help you make sense of your experience and encourages you to turn towards your experience with some kindness and compassion – the medicine our world needs right now. If you prefer to listen to me speak about this, I saved a video highlight on my instagram (@haven.counseling.services) on this topic.

Please feel free to share with anyone who may benefit from this information. We are all in this together.

Trauma Anniversaries: pandemic edition – an educational offering of support as we approach one year of the pandemic in the U.S.

What is a trauma anniversary?

Trauma anniversaries occur when the time of year becomes unconsciously coupled with a threat to our safety in an effort to keep us safe. The COVID-19 pandemic is a collective trauma.

This is the same way that “triggers” work. Essentially, during a trauma anniversary the date or time of year becomes a trigger. This an unconscious process, and often we have no idea this is happening until further reflection.

Common experiences as a result of nearing a trauma anniversary

These symptoms are related to automatic survival mechanisms and show up to attempt to try to keep us safe from threat. If you’re struggling to identify where these feelings are coming from, the trauma anniversary concept may help you make sense of your experience. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do.

Tips for navigating the one year anniversary of the pandemic

Tips for navigating trauma anniversaries and the one year anniversary of the pandemic in the U.S.

Recognizing the collective impact of this time is a helpful place to start. The list above includes a few ideas for ways to get through this time. I invite you to reflect on what helps you process your emotions and do what works best for you. This may be a good time to journal, create art, and connect with your loved ones to reflect on the impact of this past year.

The pandemic is a collective trauma

Collective traumatic events do not impact everyone in the same way, but they do impact everyone.

Comparing suffering or experiencing “survivor guilt” does not do much to help us transform pain. The medicine here is compassion for self and for others. Tend to your wounds and use your resources with the intention of relieving suffering for one another. We can do this by offering a supportive listening ear, volunteering our skills, and making monetary donations, to name a few options.

Tending to our grief

Grief and the COVID-19 trauma anniversary

Grief asks us to tend to it. Around the globe, communities have developed practices and rituals for processing grief, and almost all of these take place within the context of community. While this time may require us to be mindful of our physical distance, our need for emotional closeness is imperative. We’re in this together. Turn to your rituals to give space for grief.

Support is available for you

At the time of this writing, I have some spaces open to begin with new therapy clients. If you live in Missoula or anywhere in Montana or California, please feel to reach out to schedule a free consultation. I’d be happy to hear from you to become a part of your healing process.

In Solidarity,

Jaclyn