Trauma of Survival Mode

Abigail Kelley, LICSW

Survival mode is the fear-based way of thinking we enter when our fight-or-flight response is triggered. All we can do is focus on the threat, and the tasks right in front of us. Many of us have spent the entirety of the pandemic in survival mode, some of us have never known anything else. This way of being saves us from overwhelm and gets us through danger, but as an evolutionary defense, it is meant to be very time limited. What toll does survival mode take on our mental health, individually and collectively?

Abigail Kelley, LICSW has spent more than 30 years helping individuals and families impacted by mental illness, addiction, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, trauma, and abuse. She trains and teaches at area colleges, including Bay State College and WPI. She understands the cultural, systemic, and environmental aspects of dysfunction and that it takes empowerment to put people on a healthier path. She will help us understand how survival mode impacts development and offer insights into how to move from surviving to thriving.