For most people, New Year is a time of reflection, full of hope, but sometimes regrets. Often people make resolutions to start something a new. For those who’ve experienced trauma or loss during the past year and have been finding it difficult to move forward, or feeling stuck, it’s around this time they plan to make a conscious effort to feel better. This may go well for them. However, sometimes triggers occur unexpectedly that takes them straight back to the grief or trauma reactions they had wanted to move past.
If you’re supporting someone in this situation the best thing you can do is to help them normalise the situation, reassure them it’s ok, that setbacks happen, and encourage them to continue focusing on the future. This type of oscillating to and from is explained in Stroebe and Shuts “Dual Process” grief theory (1999). It involves the person moving between two spheres of ‘loss’ and ‘restoration’ until they have achieved their new way of being. Similar fluctuations are often reported by people after having experienced significant trauma.