Hope in the face of trauma

We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. In the UK 46,119 people who were here last year are no longer alive. That blows my mind! I will never be able to meet any of these people, gone, blown away like leaves in the wind, by a virus.

So thinking about that there are 46,119 multiplied by a minimum of 10 = 461,190 people grieving for those who have died. The ripple effect of trauma. And the nurses and care workers who looked after these people. And so as a nation we are battling trauma.

And trauma can affect our physical health:

While many of us understand the damage trauma can do to our mental health, how might it affect us physically?

‘Let’s talk a little science,’ says Harman. ‘We have a sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system kicks in when we are stressed, while the parasympathetic is for when we are relaxed. Now, the sympathetic is designed to get us out of dangerous situations. It’s fight or flight: adrenaline courses through our veins, blood moves from our trunk ,where our organs are and our brain is, to our arms and legs, so we can battle or escape danger. Once we have escaped, we’re meant to drop back into the parasympathetic state. Our intelligence increases and all the parts of us that were neglected start working optimally. That sandwich you had for lunch can finally be digested! Being in the sympathetic nervous system depletes internal resources, it doesn’t nurture. Its only priority is to get you out of danger.

Many people are stuck in “stress mode” due to past traumas.

‘Unfortunately, many people are stuck in “stress mode” due to past traumas – situations that are weighing on you. This means your body can’t repair and you are susceptible to illness. Stress induces illness, and past traumas induce stress.’

So how do we get through this, especially as the R rate is rising? I do not think it is just about taking measures to combat the virus. I think it is about taking measures to increase hope. And how do we do this?

I am going to share a few strategies that I have been using this year to build my hope perspective.

  1. Stay in contact with those you love and express how you are feeling
  2. Be kind to yourself
  3. It is okay to make mistakes
  4. Look out for the vulnerable and reach out to them
  5. Do a daily walk (if you are able to)
  6. Look at nature
  7. Stimulate your mind
  8. Research the virus and work out your own plan of keeping yourself safe
  9. Know how to get support (Samaritans are on 116123 if you need to talk to them, or Release The Pressure has a phone and online chat service)
  10. Do one nice thing per day.

If you are really struggling, please speak to a doctor and ask for help. It is okay to ask for assistance and not a weakness. And if you are battling with suicidal thoughts, particularly if you are male, then please share this with someone. Talk to a friend, or partner. We are humans and trauma runs deep.

Today’s recipe of hope is to think about trauma. If you know people who are grieving, then you may want to offer a hand to them; make a cake, buy flowers, write a card. If you are in trauma then please be kind to yourself. And I want to say to anyone who may have had a bereavement through covid, I am so sorry for your loss.

Let’s battle on through the wind and the rain and keep hoping forwards X

References

https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/mental-health/a32943409/trauma/ (accessed 01/08/2020)

Published by hope2020exchangingdisappointmentforhope

I am a qualified social worker and run a community project for vulnerable adults. I am passionate about social justice. I feel that every life matters. No-one is insignificant or invaluable. I also believe that everyone has the power to change, although some may not wish to. Essentially, I believe in hope. Hope Wells is my writing name.

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