What is it about?

A psychotherapist describes commonalities in her childhood experience of polio and reactions to the pandemic, including a collapse of time, a lapse into numbness and passivity, and the management of mortal fear through denial and detachment. Traumatic events can result in our no longer having access to the world we formerly inhabited. There is n o return to normal.

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Why is it important?

The pandemic has been a worldwide traumatic experience. This essay helps us to understand our personal reactions and can help us think about how trauma changes us.


Writing this essay became a way for me to stay awake, to be fully alive and present in the midst of trauma. I hop that it can serve that purpose for others. COVID and its effects are noLover for us.

Holly Johnston
Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Falling out of the world., Psychoanalytic Psychology, July 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/pap0000445.
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