When we think of trauma, we think of the death of a loved one, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, war-related trauma or life altering illness/accidents. Trauma can also be triggered by those events that may not be typically seen as “traumatic” such as job loss, loss of friendship/relationship, financial struggles, death of a pet, bullying/harassment, natural disasters and as we have recently experienced, a pandemic such as COVID-19.
Trauma can be caused by a single event or series of events, set of circumstances or chronic condition that a person experiences that is physically or emotionally harmful and may have lasting effects on functioning and emotional well-being. Often, traumatic events are unexpected. Most people experience trauma during their lifetimes and it can be experienced directly, by witnessing an event, hearing about an event or feeling threatened. Trauma is a fundamental feeling of being threatened. It’s a perceived lack of safety. It frequently produces a sense of fear, vulnerability and helplessness. (https://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence)
Trauma is more about the impact than the cause; it’s about how the trauma is “remembered” in the body. It is not just the event itself that determines whether something is traumatic, but also the persons experience of the event. Two people may be exposed to the same event or series of events but experience these events in very different ways. Various factors influence a person’s immediate response and long-term reactions to trauma. For some people, reactions to a traumatic event are temporary and others have prolonged reactions that move from acute symptoms to more severe, prolonged, or enduring mental health consequences.
It is important that we are patient and compassionate in our interactions with others as we don’t know what experiences they may be going through and kindness can go a long way toward helping ourselves and others to heal.
Symptoms of Trauma
Emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma include, confusion, difficulty concentrating, anger, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, self-blame, withdrawing, feeling sad or hopeless and feeling disconnected or numb.
Physical symptoms of trauma include insomnia, nightmares, fatigue, startling easily, difficulty concentrating, racing heart, agitation, digestive problems, aches and pains and muscle tension. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/trauma#symptoms)
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Talking with friends and family can help. When that is not an option please seek guidance from someone who is trained and can help you to work through your experience.
Here are some resources you can turn to:
- A doctor, counselor, or clergy member.
- Your insurance carrier. They may be able to provide you with more information about mental health resources/coverage, and offer a list of mental health providers in your network.
- You employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
- Mental Health Association of Rochester:
- Self-help drop in services
- MHA Crisis Text Line – Available 24/7, text HOME to 741741, you will be connected to a trained counselor
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7, at 1-800-273-8255
- National Disaster Distress Helpline is 1-800-985-5990
- Monroe County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Hotline is (585) 753-5555 or you can email COVID19@monroecounty.gov
- Monroe County Crisis Services
- Monroe County’s Website for Coronavirus Resources
- SAMHSA helpline – 1-800-985-5990, text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- The Emotional PPE Project: The Emotional PPE Project connects healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can help. No cost. No insurance. Just a trained professional to talk to.
- NY Project Hope
- NY Project Hope, Emotional Support Hotline: 1-844-863-9314
If you, or people you know, are in crisis, at risk for harming themselves, or others, please call 911.
Danielle Migliore is Operations Treatment Coordinator for Arc Health Services and a member of the The Arc of Monroe’s Trauma Informed Care Committee.