Victims and Survivors: Triggered by COVID-19

Victims and or survivors of domestic violence and or sexual assault may find that the added anxiety, isolation and stress of the COVID-19 Pandemic can result in triggers resurfacing that may have been previously manageable.

Triggers are memories stored in our physical and emotional selves. The impact(s) of trauma leaves an imprint or memory, that imprint or memory can resurface when we experience sounds, tastes, feelings or any event that causes that imprint or memory to resurface, the individual is then experiencing a trigger.

The anxiety and fear of the unknown that we as a global community are faced with as a result of COVID-19, can lead to triggering events or resurfacing of personal memories for victims and or survivors of trauma.

The lack of control and what is coming next can leave us on constant high alert. 

  • Isolation may trigger feelings of neglect. 

  • Economic crisis may trigger fears of not having enough or being controlled financially.

Understand that it is normal for victims and or survivors with history of trauma to feel the intensity of a new, local and global crisis at a heightened level. It is important to keep in mind that:

  • Previous coping mechanisms may not be as effective.

    • It is important to be aware of feelings and behaviors you are having and to explore new ways of managing the added toll the pandemic brings.

    • Make a list of possible new methods to have on hand before triggers come up so you can be prepared.

  • Seek support, you are not alone!

    • Safe Harbor is available 24/7 (1-800-499-7640).

  • Create a new routine, humans are creatures of habit

    • Create a new routine based on your new circumstances.

    • Include regular personally meaningful activities.

  • Get outside, fresh air and sunshine do wonders for the mind.

    • Try to get out 30 minutes every day.

  • Be gracious to yourself.

    • We are experiencing something collectively that we have never experienced before.  It is okay to be afraid.  It is okay to be less productive.

    • It is okay to be overwhelmed, don’t compare yourself to others

    • Have compassion for where you are at, no matter how you are managing during this pandemic.

    • Be gentle and kind, and take it one step at a time.