Post-COVID Stress Disorder

Have you noticed the news lately? Are you wondering what is going on? We see mass shootings routinely, people on airplanes going bonkers when asked to put a mask on, people in stores attacking others for not wearing a mask. Just a cursory glance at the headlines would make one think that something is up.

There are lots of reasons that crime and disorderly incidents are up and I am not trying to gloss over the fundamental problems of cities that have defunded the police and/or are releasing felons without bail. But I believe that something more is at play here.

Lately when I read the news, I have wondered if many in our nation are suffering from Post COVID Stress Disorder. There is something going on in our society as a whole and I believe that as a nation we have been traumatized by the societal problems created by COVID. I didn’t know if such a condition exists but I recently read an article by Dr. Caelan Soma titled, “Post-Covid Stress Disorder and Pandemic Trauma and Stress Experience.”

The article was written in February before society began to open up and return to normal. People were feeling this stress then and I believe that many are still suffering from it after almost a year of lockdowns and economic hardships. She states that many have suffered traumatic stress due to: “severe illness, hospitalization, witnessing death and extreme exposure to COVID-19 details.”

Many of us have not experienced that level of traumatic stress but most of us have experienced some of these general stressors she talks about: “COVID-19 exposure and quarantine, social isolation, employment and/or income loss, working at home with children, being a caregiver or making difficult decisions about health, education, finances, etc.”

Before we dismiss the idea that we have not suffered some form of stress from the pandemic, let’s ask ourselves how did it affect us personally? If nothing else, how did it feel to go to the store after the hoarders had bought out the toilet paper, cleaning wipes and most of the canned food? How did it feel to listen to the constant harping about COVID on the news with the death statistics on the screen every minute of every day?

I believe we have all been through a great deal this past year and we should not discount it. Most of us know of someone who died or who became very ill from COVID. Many were unable to work and had to shutter their businesses at great financial cost. We have been through a lot and we have been through it together as a society. Like it or not, the COVID pandemic has affected us all to one degree or another. We will never take for granted buying a package of toilet paper or Clorox wipes at the store. We related to people through a mask for more than twelve months. The social isolation was hell for those who live alone and were not permitted out to visit their relatives or have their relatives in.

While we watch the puzzling behavior of people in the airplanes or at the stores, let’s keep in mind the COVID Stress Disorder. Many are suffering from it and they have no idea why they feel the way they do and why they are acting the way the are. The Disorder is real and many continue to experience the effects of the trauma and stress they have been through.

Photo by Gerd Altman. Courtesy of Pixabay