We are still living within a global pandemic.
This fall, as we face online and/or distant learning, families are panicking. This stress in unavoidable. We can't make it go away or believe it's not there. We can't change our biological response to stress, we can only strive to decrease its impact. Some families feel that because they are able to keep working, pay the bills, and have a roof over their heads, that they are not experiencing this trauma.
TRUTH BOMB: YOU ARE! We are in a global pandemic, this is societal trauma.
Trauma is defined as anything that disrupts your life and creates a sense of fear, real or imagined. Trauma is a lived experience that upsets physiology (our bodies) and increases our mental/psychological stress when it doesn't feel safe. Our body and brain are constantly scanning for danger, this is what has kept us alive for generations. Just like war, this pandemic has changed our lives forever. A generation of children are now growing up with this pandemic as an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences).
Right now, the disruption to our routine, the uncertainty and unpredictability of our environment and the information we are receiving is disrupting our emotional balance- creating stress. This increased stress and chaos over a prolonged period of time is toxic stress or trauma. We don’t want this time to be “the new normal.” Our bodies are pretty amazing at handling stress and developing resilience to promote healthy functioning when in a time of stress. However, our current experience with the pandemic is not allowing for us to be in denial or use our former distractions to not face our truth.
Stressed brains CANNOT learn.
We know from neurobiology and how the brain develops, that the brain will always choose survival first. Any perceived threat, or ongoing chronic stress (COVID19), puts the brain in survival mode. Which we see via behaviors coming out of all of us. You may be fighting more with your spouse, yelling at your children, or breaking up more sibling fights.
General irritability is a good sign your family is experiencing stress.