Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dealing with Trauma

Our community lost a former member and her child in a traumatic and violent way.  What I want to share with our community right now is a little bit about how to recognize if you are experiencing trauma, and what some of the things you can do are.

First of all, you don't have to be close to someone who was killed in order to experience this as a traumatic event in your life.  There are a lot of forms that a trauma response can take.  Sometimes it leads to people questioning God or one's faith-- how can there be a God who lets these things happen?  Sometimes there is anger -- How could somebody do this?  Sometimes the dominant emotion is grief -- How could anybody do this?  Sometimes it's a feeling of guilt -- I should've done something more.  Sometimes we experience things bodily -- sleeplessness, lack of appetite or stress eating, exhaustion, stomach problems, stress dreams or nightmares, and more.  Some people will feel none of these at first, and they may hit later.  A list of things you might experience and some things to do is here, and for children here.  There are a wide range of responses that are "normal" in a situation like this.  People naturally search for meaning -- what could've gone differently, who is to blame.  That's also normal.  But it's not necessarily helpful -- trying to make sense out of senselessness is what keeps our minds going in circles and leads to some of those symptoms of sleeplessness, stress, and more.  Of course, some people deal with trauma by seeking information, and others by shutting details out.  Both are ways we protect ourselves in this time, so be aware that if you're in one style, others may not be.  If one thing you're looking for is information on domestic violence, there's more information here.

The next thing to know is that trauma has a cycle that a community will go through.  At first we will mostly pull together to get through things.  After that, however, there can be division.  Some people may think we're doing too much, and some people not enough.  A good chart for understanding this is here.  In the months to come, what will be most important is that we continue to give each other lots of space and assume goodwill.  And what we need to do personally is each keep a close tab on ourselves and loved ones and reach out for resources when we're having trouble coping. 

The bottom line right now is take care of yourselves.  If you need help, reach out.  And if you see someone else reaching out, give a hand and connect them back to some of the resources.

1 comment:

Elz Curtiss said...

Thanks, Cyn. Our street also had an incident of horrible domestic violence. It took quite a while to be able to see something else when I see the house across the street. This event had a happier ending than yours. Wish everyone could feel the joy we feel, of a victim returning home and resuming some semblance of the life she loves.