Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2/Fox 24) – Experiencing somebody’s death, or feelings about your own chance of death during the pandemic, can cause isolation and fear. For this week’s Centers Solutions: COVID Edition, Melanie Saiz discusses how the Coronavirus can cause trauma or even PTSD.
“For example, our healthcare workers who are now suddenly having to see unexpected death. People isolated in a hospital without family members. These are affecting our healthcare workers emotionally, their traumas, it’s a secondary trauma they’re going to have to take with them later. So there will be absolutely some PTSD effects from that. It transcends to many other areas, many other people, we can all expect a little of these emotions going forward,” says Centers Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.
Saiz says PTSD can impact a person’s ability to work, their mood, their sleep, and once you can’t sleep well- that can hurt your physical health. Even if COVID-19 has not hurt your mental health, trauma from before the pandemic can bring those memories or experience back.
“During the pandemic and really all of the things we’re experiencing this year, because of the uncertainty, it’s almost a ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’ Because anybody that has experienced trauma prior, this can ignite that trauma,” says Saiz.
It’s key to take care of your mental health. Not just so you can feel good on a day-to-day basis, but also for your long term health.
” You may not think that you need to address it, but if you don’t, you can develop PTSD, and then later on down the line, if you have another trauma, say this pandemic, is very traumatic for most everyone. So that’s a trauma on top of whatever trauma you had before, so there’s a layering effect. It becomes much more difficult, as time goes by, to peel those layers away, learn how to handle the anxiety of situations. The benefit of a counselor is that they can give you the skills and coping mechanism, in order to take a moment, take a step back, take a breath, remind yourself what your experiencing, and be able to power through it,” says Saiz.
Saiz says something that is traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another person, but that it doesn’t lessen the experience for those impacted.
“This is a time that is strange, weird, odd for everyone, and traumatic. And it’s okay to use that terminology, it’s trauma, so don’t minimize what you’re feeling. Don’t look around and think, ‘why is everyone else going about and I seem to be stuck.’ If you feel stuck, it’s okay. Get some help. Talk to somebody, talk to a friend, find some resources, join a support group, or get some help from a therapist, because right now is the best time ever to address that trauma,” says Saiz.
For more information about trauma and PTSD during the pandemic, listen to the Centers podcast on this topic.