It’s been eight months since the world flipped upside down.

Eight months since we all went into hiding in the cold darkness of winter, attempting to protect ourselves from a worldwide pandemic we knew (and know) very little about.

One day, we were just going about our lives, with just a faint murmur of COVID-19 in the background. The next? Our entire society was entirely transformed.

They say it takes a number of days to form a habit, and with the banal repetition of many of these COVID-impacted days, becoming accustomed to this new way of life is inevitable.

But just because living in a COVID-world feels normal now, or even like second nature, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t having lasting impact.

Just because the trauma of coronavirus might feel “normal,” that doesn’t mean it isn’t having an impact on your brain on a physical and psychological level. Reminder: we are going through collective trauma as a society right now.

It is easy to forget that we haven’t always lived our lives this heightened, fearing what could happen to us or those we love every time we walk out the door or approach another human.

Sometimes I forget that I didn’t used to think about getting infected every time I saw a group of people standing together.

Sometimes I forget that hugging the people I love didn’t used to be dangerous.

Sometimes I forget that traveling used to be second-nature, and that hopping on a bus, train, plane, etc, didn’t feel like literally betting on life-or-death.

Sometimes I forget what it was like to not feel trapped, back when the world felt like an open door, rather than a closed border.

Sometimes I forget that my mental health challenges used to feel less all-consuming, because I could more easily regulate by being out of the house and in close proximity with others.

Sometimes I forget just how much of a traumatic impact being completely alone for months on end in the height of quarantine had on me, especially as someone who already struggles.

It has been eight months. And yes, all of our lives have changed. We’ve adjusted our routines, our priorities, and so on… We’ve shaped them for survival. And adapting for survival for nearly a year can be exhausting.

I don’t have much wisdom to offer other than simply reminding you that traumatic, survival instincts are running rampant right now, both within ourselves and in our interactions with others.

You don’t have to “figure it out.” Our world is hurting, and you’re allowed to be hurting too.