Trauma Bingo

In response to the collective isolation of the pandemic, COVID-19 has inspired a different sort of community building. While physically separate, people are reaching out in new and creative ways.

Last week, I had a virtual reunion with my roommates from college, which we probably would not have organized during "real" life. I also have an active group text with several of my friends, in which we check on each other daily in order to provide as much support as possible during such a stressful time.

When one of my friends in the group text sent a "quarantine bingo" meme, I responded that I had already cried (one of the Bingo boxes) twice before 9:30 am. I added an emoji that was simultaneously laughing and crying because...well...I was also alternately between tears and about 12 other emotions.

In the collective chaos, this community via my group text gives some semblance of solidarity.

The popular messaging is that we are all grieving together. And we are. But this is where some folks, including me and many of my clients, have a complicated relationship with the communal grief.

Some of my clients--maybe you too--have been grieving a long time...years before COVID-19. "The way everyone feels about the pandemic is the way I feel about my life," one of my clients said while processing the layers of loss she has experienced over several years.

"COVID-19 is the easiest of the hard things in my life," another client mentioned when I asked how she was coping.

I bet many of you can relate. I can too.

To be clear, as a therapist and fellow human, I am thankful for the broad-scale permission to grieve during a crisis. We are all grieving something--often many somethings. I hope we can keep giving each other the grace to grieve.

Let me also be blunt: For those who have experienced trauma and other complex loss, we never received cultural permission to "not be okay" or "operate below baseline" or any of the other popular (and often helpful) slogans.

I am thankful for Quarantine Bingo--it helped me laugh on a difficult day.

But there is no bingo for our clients (or us) who are suffering from chronic pain, persistent depression, or the cumulative toll of systems that continue to oppress.

There is no rape bingo, or miscarriage bingo, or rejection from family bingo.

We didn't have the cultural permission to slow down. People were not checking in with us. We were resilient, but we didn't really have the choice.

No national story gave validation to their pain.

So, many of our clients are probably grieving that they didn't have the permission or space to grieve the unspoken losses and hidden traumas that they may have been holding for such a long time. Maybe this is true for you too.

There is no Trauma Bingo. That's worth grieving.


Share this post:

Comments on "Trauma Bingo"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment