Trauma and grief are two words that have become omnipresent during this time of COVID.
With over 500,000 Americans lost to this virus, and millions who have lost jobs due to the pandemic, it is clear that Americans are also faced with a mental health crisis.
Licensed mental health counselor Sadie Miller-Daley, who has practices in Rhinebeck and New York City, breaks down why Americans are reluctant to embrace both their grief and trauma.
“From my understanding and what I have seen in working with clients, there is a lot of stigma around many clinical terms including trauma and grief because those words imply suffering in some way,” she said “Stigma is often attached to this notion that we need to be ‘strong’ and ‘overcome’ mental illness.”
She adds that the pandemic has made it harder to cope with trauma and grief, among other things.
“Many people with anxiety have struggled a lot through the pandemic- because many high functioning anxious people utilized staying busy to cope day to day,” she said. “When their outlets (gym, dance classes, school, work) were shut down, people literally had to sit with their thoughts.”
With thousands experiencing grave loss during the pandemic, the grieving process is made further complicated when loved ones are not given a proper burial.
“If you are grieving the loss of a loved one due to COVID, chances are you didn’t get to say a proper goodbye, may have complicated grief feelings due to the pandemic, and on top of it still have to live in a pandemic.”
Miller-Daley advises that the best way to cope with loss and trauma is to realize that you are not alone.
“I think when we expect to be functioning normally but we aren’t, then we beat ourselves up more,” she said, “but if we can be kind to ourselves, remember this is not an easy time for everyone. It at least helps to not bring yourself down further.”