In light of the horrific events in Paris last Friday, we are compelled to share this article, hoping it may in some small way help to soothe your aching hearts. Many of you call Paris home and are really struggling right now, some of you in unimaginable ways; our thoughts and hearts are with you, your loved ones, and this incredible city. Below is some information on how to cope with the stress caused by living through a traumatic event. Feel free to share with friends, loved ones and anyone who may find this useful.
In the weeks following a trauma, you may suffer from some or all of the following:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased Heartbeat
Depending on your level of connection and sensitivity to the trauma, your healing process may take weeks, months or much longer. It’s impossible to know 100% when you will feel like yourself again. And there will likely be many ups and downs throughout your healing process. Be patient with yourself.
7 Ways To Help You Cope After A Trauma:
1/ Connect with others who have been through the same experience. It’s important you realize you’re not alone. Each of us has different coping mechanisms when it comes to stress. Speaking with others who are going through (or have been through) something similar is often very therapeutic.
2/ Take time for yourself. Sometimes you may feel the need to be alone, or that you only want to be in contact with people with whom you are very close. Give yourself time to breathe in a way that feels comforting.
3/ Ask for support. Sometimes we don’t realize how much just talking about what has happened can help – to a friend or family member you trust and with whom you feel comfortable — even if they have no experience with what you’re going through. If you cry while while speaking, don’t worry about it – just let it out. Allowing yourself to feel is part of the healing process.
4/ Healthy routine. You may find you are less hungry or that your diet has been affected in some way by the trauma you’ve experienced. Try to set regular meal times and eat healthfully. Exercise can be very helpful too; begin cautiously however. Be gentle with your body.
5/ Allow yourself to ‘just be light’ sometimes. Part of the healing process means there will be times you’re in a lot of pain and others when you feel like ‘your old self’. When you’re feeling good, just go with it and don’t judge yourself for having a good night out with friends when you don’t talk about what you’re going through.
6/ Take it down a notch. When we experience high levels of stress we are often more accident-prone. Take your time a little more than you ordinarily would, and be especially careful and focused while driving.
7/ Don’t drink or use drugs. Some of us may feel inclined to use alcohol or drugs to help us forget the stress and pain we feel. However, this will not allow you to really process what you are experiencing and to come to terms with it. Feelings of depression can increase as a result as well.
* Seek Professional Help If: You feel alone and do not have someone with whom to share your traumatic experience, and feel unable to control your feelings of sadness, anxiety and nervousness. For Those in Paris: If you have been traumatized by the November 13th attacks, the city of Paris is offering assistance. Dial #3975 between 10AM and 6PM to make an appointment with a psychologist. Additional information can be found at: http://www.paris.fr
* A Healing Song: “Hope” by Emeli Sandé.
“How To Cope After a Trauma”, article in Royal College of Psychiatrists: http://goo.gl/dFBQqM
“Coping With Stress”, Center for Disease Control & Prevention: http://goo.gl/jxqBYH