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Recovering from Trauma

17 Sep 01 - 10:34 AM (#552231)
Subject: Recovering from Trauma
From: wysiwyg

Most of us here, I think, know a couple of things about dealing with trauma. But it's hard to remember in these times to DO them. This thread can serve as a reminder to DO THEM... and while you're at it, jot down here what you know, in case it might help someone else.

Most of what I know is listed at length over at the Annexe.

The short version is: Find the best, brightest, most wonderful thing about human beings and the world that you can-- through song, movies, reading, looking at things around you-- focus till the goodness seeps into your numb spots. When the throat gets a lump, remind yourself it's important to cry when you need to... the tears will come, then or later. In someone's lap if at all possible. (Mine, virtually, if not.)

After the storm of tears is past, with all the thunder still echoing, put the attention on something that really requires it-- something absorbing and demanding of simple attention, like piecing out a tune from notes on the page, or recalling Mudcat thread titles from memory, or looking up stuff in old threads. This will get your mind back into present time and return you to good function after being swamped in the storm. Be disciplined about this part or you will stay sunk and not be thinking well.

Over the succeeding hours (days), keep busy doing light, simple, sunshiny-fresh-air-filled things so your mind can sort out what the storm has so thoroughly washed for you.

And drink lots of water, take lots of B and C vitamins, and LAUGH, especially when it seems inappropriate!



YOUR TURN-- what does it for you?

17 Sep 01 - 10:40 AM (#552240)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: Mrrzy

I can't really say what helped me, but I can say to any fellow Mudcatter who lost anyone on this last go-round, PM me if you need to talk to someone who's been through this before. As many of you know I lost my father in an earlier (1983) terrorist attack. Been there, done that, and... time does pass. I do remember that the worst was the time between knowing about the bombing, and them identifying the body, so for those of you who haven't heard yet, I again offer my support.

17 Sep 01 - 10:49 AM (#552252)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: UB Ed

A friend sent this to me from his Employee Assistance Program:

As adults we can become obsessed with watching TV, going on the internet, listening to the radio to stay abreast of all the latest events. We want to know what we are doing as a nation. We want to know who is behind this. We want to know how many casualties. We want to know about our families, friends, and coworkers. We want to talk about the attacks and where we were and what we heard to everyone.

As time goes on we may find we can't watch any more TV nor do we want to talk about the events. Some may see us as insensitive. Our psychological system allows us to take in so much emotional trauma then we do things differently.

What you can do:

Recognize that what you feel is normal.
Talk about your feelings.
Maintain routine in your life.
Keep to your everyday activities, including exercise, taking classes or whatever plans you may have had scheduled.
Structure is very important.
Turn off the TV, the radio, the Internet, for a while to give yourself a break from the events- there will be continuous information provided.
Take care of your medical needs. Stress can trigger physical problems. Be attentive to your physical well being.
Eat healthy meals. Don't increase use of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine.
Attend meetings, services, and support groups focused on the events.
Support the nation in this time of need.

17 Sep 01 - 02:58 PM (#552479)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: wysiwyg

Here's another related thread with good info:

Educators, Parents & Counsellors 9-11

17 Sep 01 - 03:23 PM (#552508)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: Steve in Idaho

UB Ed - Good one - I'd add that one should eliminate the alcohol for the first several days at a minimum. The other that one should remember is to do something - Anything! Just up off the backside and make movement occur. I also concur with those who have already stated that to talk about it with someone you trust is probably the most important.

WYSIWYG is right on with that one.

Peace - Steve

17 Sep 01 - 05:21 PM (#552619)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: marymarymary

I've never lost a loved one in a terrorist attack or anything similar, but in July of 2000, my house burned down. I had gotten up early one morning to go shopping, but my three roommates all died in their beds. The fire was caused by faulty wiring, and apparently had been burning all night within the walls, unbeknownst to us. We had just moved into the house, and the landlord did not provide smoke detectors. If I hadn't left the house early, I would surely have died too. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me, and this is some of what got me through...

Talk about it when you need to. It's going to to be in your thoughts for a long time, as you turn it over and over examining all of the varied "what if *this* had happened" or "how can I keep myself and everyone else safe in the future" type thoughts. If you don't have a sympathetic ear, write it out, instead. It really does help.

Conversely, if you *don't* feel like thinking or talking about it any more, don't be afraid to say so. Too many sympathetic and well-meaning people at once can be very, very overwhelming and answering the same questions over and over can be trying. Feel free to simply say "I don't want to talk about that any more right now."

If you or a loved one were directly affected by the bombing, accept help in the spirit with which it is given. The goodness and caring of people in general will touch and amaze you.
Help someone else who is suffering. It takes your mind off your own situation, and gives you a measure of control and hope to be doing something positive. Pick out one of the people lost in the attack and start a college fund for their children. Create a memorial for someone you know that died. Offer to host the domain names of a WTC company who lost their webserver and create a page for listing those company members who are safe. Just do something, no matter how trivial it seems at first.
Plan and organize your immediate future. This is something else that will restore some of your feelings of control over your life.
People are very strong and resilient, and no one can mourn 24 hours a day forever. If you catch yourself laughing or smiling, don't feel guilty, as if you are too easily forgetting those that were lost.
And just remember that everyone deals with things in different ways, and nothing you do is wrong. You know better than anyone else what you need to do for yourself.

17 Sep 01 - 05:48 PM (#552627)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: Sorcha

DO Something. Something normal, like clean house, walk the dog(s), pet a cat, cook a meal (even if you put the cheese powder in the water instead of the macaroni), wash a load of clothes, shop for groceries, and be thankful that you can..........

17 Sep 01 - 07:48 PM (#552724)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: wysiwyg

Watch out for Survivor Guilt, too-- it is OK to be glad to be alive, and to celebrate what is good around you, out loud.


18 Sep 01 - 09:29 AM (#553132)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: wysiwyg

Please, take a moment to think of the ones who have been giving major support to others-- friends, Mudcatters, etc., clergy, anyone in the helping professions-- people you know personally-- and see if their own recovery is getting enough support. They can probably use a short respite to take their turn to express what they are feeling, and safe places to do it may be scarce.


19 Sep 01 - 06:18 PM (#554360)
Subject: RE: Recovering from Trauma
From: katlaughing

marymarymary, thank you very much for your posting. I am sorry about your loss. We another member whose house was struck by lightening and burned to the ground, two years ago, and it has been a long, slow process, dealing with the complete and utter loss. Thankfully, there was no one in the place, unlike your tragic situation.

From talking to her throughout, I recognise a lot of the things you suggest and just want you to know your sharing is very much appreciated.