Covid-19, Stress, and PTSD

Who could have known that the last posting in January would be so relevant. I have attached below an updated version with some more current resources.

I have taken a break from my work as a hospital Chaplain, with much regret. But my physical and emotional health and that of my 71 year old husband have to be my primary focus at this time. I still try to offer support as best I can, but it is little.

Why did I find work so emotionally challenging at this time? Sure, it’s chaos at work. Overflowing morgues, 7 floors of Covid patients, staff stressed out, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted. But my department members are mostly making it to work, so why can’t I? It’s not just my kidney stones – I had three last week but I’m pretty sure I passed one. When I went back in to work on Wednesday – having left Tuesday on account of the pain – I was pain-free. The kidney stone (#1) had passed. But I couldn’t stop crying, my chest felt tight, I was finding it difficult to breathe normally. But I had no fever; I wasn’t showing any signs of the virus. It took me a few days, and a FaceTime session with my psychiatrist to figure it out. My PTSD was being triggered. Big time.

How could that be? I wasn’t being abused, I wasn’t being threatened, my co-workers like me. Sure, the hospital, heck the whole country, the whole world, was in crisis mode, but most people were dealing with it. Being stoic and courageous. Couldn’t I deal with it?

Actually, no I couldn’t. And I’ve been guilting myself every day since. But the truth is I was diagnosed with PTSD for good reason some years ago. And, while most of the time I am completely symptom free, it does get triggered in moments of crisis.

So, right now I accept myself for who I am, and I am extraordinarily thankful for my colleagues who continue to serve.


About Mona

I am a wife, mother, and author. I taught high school for 27 years and I was a hospital and hospice chaplain until my health required that I retire. I miss my hospital coworkers and cannot imagine how terrible this year and last year have been. I want to be there for them in at least this small way.
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