Search
  • Angie Gunn LCSW CST

COVID Stockholm Syndrome


It’s been exactly one year since we were taken captive, and we have almost forgotten the shock & devastation. We've adapted to stay alive.

We adapted to constant nervous system activation with less capacity, less energy and less engagement. We forgot how to live in community, be social and engage with the rest of the world... it's terrifying to consider doing those things again.

We spent a lot of time early on baking, crafting, reaching out, finding ways to be creative and have hope. But hope became more painful and bread stopped being made. Zoom fatigue was stronger than our desire to connect; planning ahead and anticipating good things was futile so we stopped.

We've adapted to a new normal and found moments of connection and joy in captivity (knowing full well we can never go back, and have no idea what will come next). Many of our usual coping and human connection tools were gone and irreplaceable, so we went without. Our collective trauma response reduced productivity, creativity and generativity.

Global, political unrest reinforced the desire to close in and protect ourselves and our bubble. Our focus zeroed in on our immediate relationships, homes, jobs as a distraction from uncertainty and terror. Our bubbles got smaller and smaller (and so did we). We've lost the sense of time, space and interconnection.


The vaccine doesn't have the power to shift the psychological state we've created to survive in the last year... so what does?

The only way to heal covid stockholm syndrome is to fight to know what is real, even while we're still fighting to survive. We've been small, but we were learning too. We learned that capitalism is broken. That productivity and perfection is a trap. That no matter our identities, we aren't immune from trauma, chaos and harm. But those who were already harmed by the systems got it a lot worse. That we need each other, we can grow things, we can share things, we can value work and skill that's not based on someone's ability to create wealth or power. That we are all experiencing a trauma of belonging; an isolation from our humanness exacerbated by consumerism, competition and the privileging of romantic partnerships as our only tether. That our worth as humans is not about jobs, relationships or status but is instead inherent to each and every one of us. The fact that we exist, that we breath, try, give, show up every day... is enough.

You are loveable, fuckable, desirable, valuable and worthy just as you are.


What do we do now?

Get Big Again.

Remember you.

All the parts of you.

Moving, expanding, playing, connecting.

What made you feel big and expansive in the past? What made you feel most alive? What captivated your heart, mind and body so much so that you lost track of time? What parts of you have had to hide to stay safe, and how can you welcome them back? Have compassion and curiosity for yourself and others. We cannot go back, but we can recreate a world where we rebuild ourselves and our communities to thrive, on our own terms.

8 views0 comments