Hurt people hurt other people

Combating the psychological toll of trauma and COVID life

Elizabeth Humphreys, Reporter

Every day, we are reminded that we are still facing the lasting effects of the COVID depression. It appears that every announcement, advertisement, and email begins with the somber opening “in these difficult times.” We find ourselves questioning when was life ever not difficult? Even thinking we should give up as the year 2020 continually seems to worsen including race riots, political tensions, injustice, death, and famine.

The main problem that COVID entails is the physical restrictions which force people to social distance, quarantine, and avoid situations in which they see others. This is done in order to stop the spread of physical sickness. But for the average person who has not contracted COVID, an even realer effect is the mental and emotional affliction of loneliness, worry, self-doubt, and reminiscing about what life was like before the pandemic hit. 

What I believe is so interesting about this worldwide issue, is that it has lasting psychological parallels to what a person with daily depression, pre-COVID and other mental disorders feel every day. It can cause an average person, someone who was maybe even an optimist before the pandemic, to drown in the seeds of doubt being implanted in their minds. 

One of the most disturbing things about COVID initially was the blatant disregard for the well being of others, as people promptly raided grocery stores, fought over trivial household items such as toilet paper, as the most selfish colors of the human heart began to show. 

Any basic psychologist or person with knowledge of the human brain can tell you that the more people are hurt, the more likely they are to hurt others. This victim and abuser cycle is mainly fed by one key component, whether or not someone who experienced trauma was able to find a community, resources to help them, and/or whether they were uplifted and provided support. “Breaking the cycle of abuse becomes substantially harder when so much of the burden falls on the survivors,” Madeleine Holden wrote in Mel Magazine five months ago. 

Without the component of help and love following an incident or even more crucially a lifetime of abuse and trauma, victims will be far more likely to fall into the trap of, “hurt people that hurt other people.” 

This gap between human connection is precisely displayed by the measures that social distancing and quarantining entail. So what can we do about it?

Though COVID has made it significantly harder to connect with other people in person, I have compiled a list of three main resources below in order to attempt to help those who are feeling lonely and in need of connection. And just remember, you don’t have to go through anything alone.

  • Social Media — We always hear that yes, too much of it can draw people away from their immediate surroundings and cause them to be more isolated. But COVID is one of the instances in which social media can be a positive tool to connect with others and catch up on your lives together with family and friends across the country and world.
  • Hotlines — In an emergency situation, feel free to call a hotline to talk to someone and have them provide support for you. 
  1. Dating Abuse and Domestic Violence

loveisrespect: 1-866-331-9474

loveisrespect focuses on young adult relationships and hopes to end dating abuse. loveisrespect offers 24/7 help.

  1. Depression and Suicide

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (24/7)

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 (24/7)

The Trevor Project offers support to the LGBTQ young adult community. Both of the hotlines provided offer 24/7 help.

There are also suicide hotlines specific to your area.

  1. Eating Disorder Hotline

National Eating Disorder Association: 1-800-931-2237

NEDA offers help to a variety of eating disorders and hopes to “envision a world without eating disorders.” NEDA is available Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST).

  1. General Crisis

Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741

The Crisis Text Line extends to everyone. Their goal “…is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. YOU = our priority.” 24/7 help is available.

  1. Mental Illness Hotline

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264

NAMI provides treatment options and programs. They wish to “raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.” The NAMI hotline is available every Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  1. Sexual Assault Hotline

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: 1-800-656-4673

RAINN is the “nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.”  Their goal is to provide options and programs to victims, in addition to finding ways of preventing sexual violence. RAINN offers 24/7 help.

  • Video Calls — Putting a face with a person and being able to meet new people and talk to friends and those who are having similar experiences to you is super important, especially if you have been through a traumatic event during the COVID pandemic.