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Coping with life during COVID-19 pandemic: PTSD

Dr. James E. “Jamie” Lester PsyD
MBA Special to The Star

If you or someone you know is having a hard time dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, know that you are not alone. Our world has turned upside down, so it is natural to feel uneasy. This leads to anxiety and depression and could lead into other deep-rooted trauma. All this can lead in one suffering from coronavirus pandemic post-traumatic stress disorder, a.k.a. PTSD.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, learning about a traumatic event that has happened to a family member or close friend, and experiencing repeated exposure to details of traumatic events," says Summer R. Thompson DNP, PMHNP-BC, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with Community Psychiatry. " In this time of the Covid-19 that our nation is handling, we listen, read, and watch the news. We hear about family and friends or others that have contracted this illness. As a result, the potential for developing PTSD is highly elevated.

Some of the symptoms are depressive symptoms. It is not unusual to feel despair when you feel like the life you once lived has now changed, perhaps irrevocably. You are not moving as much as you used to. You are not doing the same old things. "When we are under-activated, we are immobilized," says Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC Therapist/Licensed Professional Counselor. "Symptoms include excessive fatigue, lack of interest in activities you might typically enjoy, hopelessness about the future, and feeling numb." If your feeling this way, remember, this, the bible states, Psalm 34:17-18 ESV “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Other symptoms of PTSD are feeling more on the edge. "If you notice that you are feeling extremely 'on edge' and watchful when you're out in public, even at times that you are not at high risk for virus transmission, you may be experiencing a common trauma-related symptom called hypervigilance," says Katie Lear, LCMHC, a licensed mental health counselor. "People with hypervigilance may also notice they are easily startled and have an exaggerated startle response and may be extra sensitive to loud noises." The Lord says in 1 Peter 5:7 ESV “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV states “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Avoiding and re-experiencing symptoms during this time is not uncommon, you may find yourself avoiding subjects of conversation, certain people, or places that remind you of the pandemic and trigger anxiety," says Lear. "You might also experience recurrent, unwanted memories of the pandemic that feel very real, almost as if you are living through the moment again."

Flash backs is another symptom along with nightmares. Its common for individuals to have nightmares but if it affects you in a negative way this is a sign. Also, the feeling of being cut off from loved ones. Everyone needs the feeling of love and acceptance, its part of the hierarchy of needs and when it is cut off, this form of isolation effects your sense of connection and belonging. The vacillating of fear and boredom is a sign of PTSD along with the combination of any of the symptoms mentioned above. The word coping or having troubles coping with issues is a major indication of this issue. Remember, Jesus said in John 14:1 ESV “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. He further states, in John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is hope and there is good news. If we examine the humanistic side of this issue Sigmund Freud would point to the inside of ones self and the answer is dealing with the past and allowing it to re-occur and you deal with it each time on your own. On the Christian (The Believer) side of this issue which contradicts Freud, the answer is clear. The believer that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and his salvation of true agape love for you is the answer you are searching for. You do not have to live with any issue or past issues once you have accepted Christ all the past stays in the past.

During this time in our nation we need to turn to faith. Faith in the Lord that he is in all things and he is there for you during any situation in life you may be going through. However, you have to make that decision not me or a preacher, or friend. The answer is a will to want to change for the good and for you to allow the holly spirit to work in you for you. Do not turn to drugs, alcohol, pills, blunts, etc. Those or temporary things that will hold you back from what God truly wants from you. All the issues associated with PTSD can be managed through the love of Christ. 1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. John 3:16 ESV “For God so loved the world (His People, you), that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

If you are having difficult times in your life, whether its PTSD, family issues, emotional issues, or any issues, first look at your relationship with God and start praying. Then turn to a support person or group. This can be found at a local church of your choice or a pastor or prayer worriers of a church. It starts with you and you alone. Remember, you are never alone in this world you can always look up. Look up to the creator and father above and allow him to direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Remember, you are loved. Prayer is free, contact a local church for prayer and allow the spirit to guide you in the right direction. You have the power to change your life in a positive direction. It starts with you. In God’s Love ………. Jamie

Dr. James E. “Jamie” Lester PsyD, MBA holds a doctorate in Psychology and master’s degree in business administration. He is a State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, Broker, Consultant, Mediator, and author of numerous articles, peer reviewed articles, journals, and books.