We’ll be updating this page regularly, so keep checking back for new information.
Staying at home and feeling safe
Everyone feels anxious when there is a lot of uncertainty. If you suffered abuse in childhood you might be finding things especially difficult while coronavirus (COVID-19) is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. We’ll be sharing lots of useful information on self-care here on our blog and on social media.
The NHS Every Mind Matters campaign has tips on looking after yourself when you are cocooning at home to keep yourself and others safe. NHS Every Mind Matters Coronavirus (COVID-19) Staying at Home Tips
You may realise right away when you’re feeling under stress, but at other times you may not recognise the signs. Stress can affect you both emotionally and physically, and it can affect the way you behave. It may help to identify these feelings and know that they are normal Mind charity’s Signs of Stress information page
Reliable sources of information
Coping during the pandemic This free course has been developed by The Recovery College and NHS for everyone in response to the recent global pandemic. It will be continually updated with the latest information and advice. Click here to take the course The Recovery College coronavirus page
There is information about how to:
- avoid catching and spreading the virus
- what immediate feelings you may have and
- common reactions, managing your mental health at this time
- managing isolation and social distancing,
- supporting children and young people
- accessible information.
What is a Recovery College? Recovery Colleges co-produce mental health and wellbeing training courses in partnership with the NHS. There are a number of Recovery Colleges running across the country. They offer educational courses about mental health and recovery which are designed to increase your knowledge and skills and to help you to feel more confident in self-management of your own mental health and well-being.
For the the latest government information about health, employment, education, travel and business information, check here, content is updated frequently Government sources of up-to-date information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
What is trauma?
Childhood abuse and neglect or repeatedly witnessing domestic violence are traumatic experiences for a child. They threaten our sense of physical or emotional safety or even our life and overwhelm our nervous system. The effects of the trauma are deepened if it’s not possible to escape the threat, which is naturally the case for children. It can be extremely empowering and healing to recognise that many of your overwhelming feelings are linked to chronic traumatic experiences in childhood rather than innate ‘defects’ or ‘disorders’. Trauma-informed Practice
There are some common responses and experiences among abuse and other trauma survivors as a result of the current lockdown. This Psych Central blog gives an overview and offers suggestions on how we can take charge of our wellbeing. How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting trauma survivors
Overwhelming feelings and memories
If you suffered trauma in the past, stress can trigger a flashback. When memories come back, the child part in you is experiencing the past as if it were happening today. The extreme feelings and bodily sensations are so frightening because they are not related to the present and often seem to come out of the blue.
Grounding techniques can help you feel more in control. They’re especially useful if you experience dissociation during panic attacks. If you feel panicky, trapped or powerless as a result of a flashback, read or listen to our grounding techniques. NAPAC’s Flashbacks and Grounding tips in audio and to read
Traumatic events can cause complex PTSD. If you have complex PTSD you may be particularly likely to experience what some people call an ’emotional flashback’, in which you have intense feelings that you originally felt during the trauma, such as fear, shame, sadness or despair. You might react to events in the present as if they are causing these feelings, without realising that you are having a flashback. Read Mind Charity’s page on Complex PTSD
Self-harm for some people reduces the impact of overwhelming feelings for a short time. It is often triggered by stress, a reminder of a painful experience, or by flashbacks. What can you do to stop? We offer some tools to help you. NAPAC’s Common Concerns page
Dissociation is one way the mind copes with too much stress, such as during a traumatic event like abuse in childhood. If this is the way you coped with trauma in the past, you may dissociate now at times of stress. Experiences of dissociation can last for a relatively short time (hours or days) or for much longer (weeks or months). Read Mind’s information page on dissociation and dissociative disorders and tips on caring for yourself Mind on Dissociation
You may be finding you aren’t sleeping as well as usual. If you are worried, you may:
- be awake for long periods at night
- wake up several times during the night
- wake up early and be unable to get back to sleep
- feel down or have a lower mood
- have difficulty concentrating
- be more irritable than usual
- feel like you have not slept well when you wake up in the morning
Every Mind Matters has some videos and online tips on what might help if you have trouble sleeping Trouble Sleeping? Every Mind Matters
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause nightmares and night terrors, disturbing your sleep. This can mean you feel anxious about falling asleep, which could lead to insomnia.