“There will be a day when we no longer have to stand in line.”
Emerging From Disaster – Entering Recovery Mode
In today’s episode, we discuss the current state of the COVID19 pandemic as we officially start recovery mode. Society has been rattled, lives lost, and the pathway forward is uncertain. Nevertheless, we persevere, even when the news is dominated by reports of death and the chaos created by Donald Trump in the United States.
Introducing Dr. Ross Laird – Coping During Trauma
Now that we are in recovery mode, we have set high expectations for returning to some kind of normal. While the pathway forward is uncertain, we now have time to reflect on how we each respond to trauma.
In our discussion, we review the work by Dr. Ross Laird, a best selling author and award-winning clinical consultant in mental health and trauma. Dr. Laird proposes four style of coping that individuals fall into, hard wired from the experiences we had as children.
Specifically, Laird describes the four types as:
- Flight: Coping through shifting focus to unrelated tasks. Often presents as avoidant and in withdrawal.
- Freeze: Coping by turning consciousness inwards. Often presents as unable to proceed, fatigued, and overwhelmed.
- Orient: Coping through creating new projects and tasks as a response to re-guiding anxious energy.
- Flight: Coping by taking control of surroundings and others. Often presents as angry.
Consequences Seen Over Time
There are four consequences from remaining in our individual coping styles too long. During the time of a pandemic, when the public response is a marathon rather than a sprint, it is natural that we remain locked tight in our approach.
- Flight –> Retreat: The individual gets locked deep in modes of escape (reading, etc.).
- Freeze –> Depression: The individual internally collapses into solace and isolation.
- Orient –> Anxiety: The individual finds themselves in a deep state of hyper-vigilance.
- Flight –> Anger: The individual settles on dominance and control.
Shifting to Recovery Mode As Survival
We have an opportunity given to us – As we officially shift into recovery mode, we get to emerge from over used states of coping. While initially functional, staying augured in becomes maladaptive in nature.
As we emerge, we must seek some kind of normal through being grounded, improve the connections with others, engage our creativity while we contain our experience, and engage capacity building in our community focusing on health.