The Mom Show: Do you suffer from pandemic whiplash?

Nov 4, 2020, 10:15 AM
Pandemic whiplash...
University of Washington research coordinator Rhoshni Prabhu holds up a swab after testing a passenger at a free COVID testing site Oct. 23, 2020, in Seattle. The United States is approaching a record for the number of new daily coronavirus cases in the latest ominous sign about the disease's grip on the nation, as states from Connecticut to Idaho reel under the surge. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SALT LAKE CITY — Are you starting to feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, listlessness or fatigue and know it’s somehow associated with the pandemic but aren’t sure how?

Host of the KSL Mom Show Lindsay Aerts talked with Mollie Pettingill, who created The Dear Daughter Workshop, about the phenomenon called pandemic whiplash.

Pettingill said she was in a car accident, but it wasn’t until three day later that she felt the effect of whiplash and couldn’t move her neck.

“It was so alarming and scary. I thought I’d gotten over the trauma of the accident,” she said. “I feel that happens a lot with Covid.”

Pandemic whiplash

A whiplash injury can range from minor to life-changing. Pettingill said she thinks the same is true with the pandemic.

Some people get sick and recover without lasting injury, but others become sick and die. Some don’t get sick at all, but lose their jobs or their businesses.

Pettingill said pandemic whiplash can bring both physical and mental injury, e.g. a child crying because she can spend time with a friend who is in quarantine. 

The physical effects of pandemic whiplash can also be experienced indirectly. 

“I had a friend who — very active — went to the gym every day and that really did take a toll on her physically, not being able to go every day,” Pettengill said.  

Pandemic trap

Lindsay added that there was a point during the pandemic where taking care of her two kids “was so all-consuming.”

“One, because I couldn’t get out of my own anxiety with fearing the virus. And two, just never having a respite, never having a break,” Lindsay said. “It starts to build on you. It’s not so much that the day-to-day is hard but the collective experience starts to get just really stressful and really overwhelming.”

Everyone is feeling different points from the pandemic, Pettingill said.

“Everyone wants to fix it in a different way because we all see it differently,” she said. “I can’t fix what you’re going through, and you can’t fix what I’m going through.”

“Part of my solution would be to send the kids to school, but that’s not really possible right now,” Lindsay said. “We’re tired. We’re fatigue. We may be letting our guard down with mask-wearing and gathering and stuff like that because we’re burnt out. You can’t live at that sustained pace of stress for this long and not just collapse.”



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The Mom Show: Do you suffer from pandemic whiplash?