Processing the Mental Trauma of COVID
My mind went blank and my body felt a little numb. What? Really?
But what about the precautions I had taken? The vaccination and booster, the wearing of masks, and the avoidance of crowds?
For so long, I subconsciously wore a badge of honor from not having contracted the virus we have been told to avoid with everything we have for the past few years. And now that was no longer. I was positive.
I’m willing to bet I’m not the first one whose breath was taken away when a positive test result showed up and probably won’t be the last.
So why did it shake me up mentally even though physically, for me, it was just like a bad cold or flu?
The abundance of media coverage discussing the dangers of the virus paired with the fact that over 1 million Americans have died from it over the past few years is enough to make anyone feel a little anxious.
However, I didn’t ignore my feelings (even if I did think they were too silly to share at first). I leaned in and thought about my experience, noting that I have learned a lot since contracting the virus and have a new perspective on this endemic as as a whole.
In deep discussion with Dr. Graves and reflection on my own experience, here are a few of those learnings I want to share:
1. There is no guarantee and I (more than likely) had a false sense of security.
For two and a half years, proper precautions for warding off a COVID infection were engrained in me. After hearing so many times to wear a mask, avoid groups of people, stay outside, etc. much of it became second nature without even thinking about it.
But while precautions were recommended, they were no guarantee that I wouldn’t be exposed.
So I was and I got it.
But in many ways, that was okay because…
2. For my mental and social health, I need to weigh the benefit vs. risk of getting back to normal life.
I know, there’s a new “normal” now, but still…unless I choose to live as a hermit (which may not be great for emotional health), it’s important for me to connect with others, enjoy my favorite activities, and travel to new places – and that means a higher chance of exposure.
While this will look different for everyone, Dr. Graves has encouraged me to weigh what the benefit for my life as whole would be versus taking the risk of contracting COVID-19. This allows me freedom to make my own choices for what’s best for me.
And with this perspective…
3. No one is to blame.
Now that the virus is morphing into new variants and becoming more contagious, it’s even harder to be able to pinpoint when and where exposure actually happened. Unknowingly passing it along to someone else can foster guilt and shame (I know, I felt it), but I now see how it’s unrealistic for me to blame myself for something I was unaware of and feel bad about living my life.
As Dr. Graves has told me, living in today’s world comes with the high likeliness of being exposed to the virus at some point (whether you actually contract it may vary person to person), turning the experience of catching it something like that of a cold or flu.
While I know that everyone will have a different viewpoint and reaction to COVID – whether with a positive test result or the endemic as a whole, I wanted to share a few of the helpful insights I have gained.
If you’ve contracted COVID and are in need of naturopathic physical and mental health support, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to talk about it.
The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, acupuncture, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area. For those outside of these areas, virtual appointments are available.