You Might Be Experiencing Fight, Flight, or Freeze And Didn’t Even Know It
A lot of us are struggling right now and we may not even be able to identify what we are feeling or why. I've been dealing with some of the same feelings lately so I did some digging online about how Covid-19 can impact emotions and particularly, how it can trigger our trauma responses - Fight, Flight and the often forgotten Freeze.
I'm not a doctor. I'm not a psychologist. I am just a woman who has lived a life littered with past trauma and I continue to do my best to work to unravel it so I can continue to grow and thrive despite my painful past. Because of that work, I have a decent understanding of how I react to traumas - whether through fight, flight or freeze. (Learn about Fight, Flight & Freeze). I've always tried to be candid about my struggles with mental health and and I think our current situation warrants that I continue to share honestly with you.
Personally, I have been in a revolving state of fight, flight or freeze for weeks - and that's ok. I have tools at my disposal to help me stay centered and focused, when I need to. Other times, when I don't *have* to be centered and focused, like when I'm at home with no "task-at-hand" to be done, I find myself mentally spacing out (freeze response) or I'll numb out with tv or the internet (flight response). Fortunately (and one day at a time), I no longer use alcohol as part of my flight response. I can recognize when I am using things as a coping mechanism for my flight response and even when my anxieties kick into overdrive, triggering my fight response and I start to over-plan and over-prep but the freeze response can be a little more elusive to me. I won't always realize I'm doing or why.
Here is a wonderful article that I found particularly helpful in identifying a number of emotions and feelings you may be experiencing yourself and how they relate to our fight, flight and freeze response during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of these you may not even realize you are experiencing - I know I didn't until I read through and had those "Oh! That's what it is!" moments - feelings like apathy, grief and exhaustion. We are all not quite ourselves right now and I feel like self compassion (and compassion for those closest to us who aren't quite themselves either) is going to be critical as we work to move through this pandemic. If you aren't feeling the way you think you "should," that's ok. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you're feeling in the moment and then let it pass. Don't put any undue pressure on yourself and let's ride this thing out together. Be gentle with yourself. Stay safe and stay well, friends. ❤