PTSD in a Pandemic

No one talks about what it’s like living with PTSD in a pandemic. On one hand, the thought of social distancing is quite appealing, on the other it’s terrifying. Terrifying in the sense that it’s lonely, appealing in the sense that it keeps us “safe.”

Let’s talk about what the term “safe” even means. Safety to me means respecting my boundaries. It means not invading my personal space or that of my children.

It means respecting me as a woman and mother, a concept that has become taboo in today’s society. Limiting gatherings and remaining 6-feet-away while in line means avoiding the awkwardness that is my life. I have social anxiety as a by-product of PTSD that I developed while serving in the military.

Given the situation that caused it, I no longer worry about being triggered because I can avoid social gatherings all together. The mask acts as a security blanket and the virus a catalyst of what’s to come. The future seems more daunting than promising.

Donald Trump has set off a chain of events, sparking hate fueled protests and false propaganda to spread like wildfire. Gun and alcohol sales are up, most likely due to rising unemployment. If the virus doesn’t kill off half the planet, fear of the future definitely will.

The start of 2020 was an eye opener for many, unaware that their vision would change in unexpected ways. The pandemic opened the eyes of many in unexpected ways. I personally connected with those most important to me, while others dropped out of my life.

I began prioritizing what was most important to me. For the first time in my life, I realized the importance of self-care. This pandemic was the catalyst that helped me rediscover myself. For the first time in forever, I chose me.

I said no to all the people, places and things I had no desire of entertaining. I prioritized my family over everything. It changed me in many ways that I’m grateful, but only because I allowed it.

So I ask you, as we go into 2021, how do you plan to take control of your life? Will you let the fear of the unknown cripple you, throwing you into the abyss? Or will you make this an opportunity you choose not to miss, taking control of the one life you were given?

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