The dates on the calendar and the time on a clock are some of the most ubiquitous and easily understood numbers in our lives. And yet over the past two years, many Americans have felt time blur: They lose track of the day or hour, think more (or less) time has elapsed than actually has, and can’t place exactly when a traumatic event actually happened.
It isn’t their imagination. Psychology has a term for it: “temporal disintegration”—when the present seems disconnected from the continuity of time—and it plays an important role in how we perceive and respond to trauma.
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