An act of terrorism may difficult to comprehend. In all fairness the death of innocent adults and children should stir emotions in anyone. The purpose of a terrorist attack is to, well, create an air of terror. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the event. It’s also normal to be angry, sad, confused or all three emotions at the same time.
It’s difficult to describe what the survivors of the Manchester Arena attack will experience because lets just face it, most of us weren’t there. The point of the matter is that 21,000 people were and those 21,000 people have loved ones AND (if you’re like me) you had a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach when you heard it for the first time on the news. You sympathize with the lives lost and those injured because you are human. It was hard for me to type that word out: ‘human’. The people or organization that did this were also essentially human. When I use the word ‘human’ I use it with the assumption that the being in question feels emotions, namely compassion.
For those directly involved in the terrorist attack the recovery process is understandably a difficult one. You might feel unsafe, afraid and you may unfortunately feel loss. You might have trouble concentrating because you might be consumed by the tragedy. You might also be plagued by nightmares or sleepless nights. There are many ‘mights’ because no two people react the exact same way to tragedy. One definite is that you will need support during this time of turmoil. Here are some of the things you can do to help deal with common feelings of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder):
- Spend extra time with people you love and trust. Talk through the event.
- Give yourself time to react. You might seem fine right after the attack has occurred but if you don’t give yourself time to deal with the situation you may find that you are forced to deal with it further down the line. It will just take you longer to recover in the bigger picture.
- Avoid using alcohol, prescription, or non-prescription drugs to handle your emotions. Doctors or clinical psychologists might decide to prescribe medication to sleep but most professionals will recommend that you deal with the tragedy without the aid of medication.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. As mentioned earlier in the article, people deal with tragedy in different ways.
If you have children you will need to give them guidance throughout the recovery process:
- Help your child talk through the event. Let your child know that it is normal to feel the feelings he/she is feeling. Help them to assign words to their feelings. Words like ‘angry’ and ‘sad’. Share your own feelings with your child. Don’t assume that your child is okay if they have not spoken about the event.
- Reassure your child that terrorist attacks are rare. Put the event into perspective for yourself and for your child.
- Emphasize that you are there for your child. That you will do everything in your ability to keep he/she safe.
- When you talk about the event, be honest and clear. If your child has any misconceptions, correct them don’t encourage them.
- Try to be as patient as possible. Chances are, they’re going to need to revisit topics. It may seem unnecessarily repetitive but the repetitive nature may be your child’s way of coming to grips with it.
Other tips may be:
- Exercising your feelings of control. Take up an activity that is determined by you and your decisions.
- Give yourself a media and social media detox.
- It does NOT show that you are weak if you decide to get professional help. Actually, it shows that you have the strength to recognize that you need help outside of yourself.
By: Kriszti Bottyan