A state of disbelief has spread across the world. With the shooting of MH17 over the Ukraine we have been reminded that life is unpredictable and the world can be an unsafe and treacherous place. Sadly we are also reminded that sometimes, bad things happen to good people.
When the world is facing troubled times it is personal for all of us. Over the past few days I have had personal conversations with several people where they’ve described feelings of shock, fear, disbelief, outrage and despair.
For each of us the trauma is real and whilst we may go about our days, in a state of ‘business as usual’, we are doing so with a different world view than we had only a few days before. Even if we are a realist – after the shooting down of MH17 over the Ukraine on Friday there is just one more piece of reality to now contend with.
As a trauma therapist I understand that there are some key steps we can all be taking right now to both step through the initial shock and then to reconnect with a sense of safety and balance. Here are some ideas. Please share these with friends and family as you all take steps to reconnect with your lives:
- When global events such as these occur the media is saturated with reports and images that take you, your family and your children directly to the horror of what has happened. Limit your viewing of these broadcasts and be mindful of the exposure your children have to news reports and images.
- Where your children have been exposed to some of the footage of events – allow them time to discuss their views, fears and confusion. They need you to listen and gently help them to feel comfortable with their feelings.
- Prioritise life-affirming activities such as spending time with family and friends, enjoying hobbies and simply doing activities that make you happy.
- Understand that when global events such as these occur, even if you are not directly affected – it is normal to have feelings of discomfort, fear, disbelief and distress. Be kind toward yourself as even though you may not be directly affected it is normal to feel this way.
- Talk to people with whom you have a close relationship and share your feelings, fears and reactions. It is great to have a gentle ‘realty check’ with your confidant about the nature of your thoughts. This can help to keep your fears realistic.
- Monitor any feelings you may have such as sadness, feeling out of control and feelings of helplessness that may arise. Where those feelings are becoming uncomfortable reach out and get some professional help. Contact numbers are listed here below. There are trained professionals who can help you with your feelings.
- Maintain your own mental health and watch for signs of depression and anxiety.
- Look after your own physical health. Eat healthy, hydrate and monitor any changes to your health. If you are concerned then please see your GP for assistance.
- At times like these it is not uncommon to be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and a sense of loss for people who have been directly affected by the event. Recognise that these feelings are normal and expected. Monitor these feelings and if needed, seek professional help and assistance.
- If you do reside in an area where one of then MH17 passengers live then your loss will be personal. Find your own way to experience the shock and loss of the people in your community. For some people they will need to retreat and be still. For others the only way they can move through the experience is to reach out and help those affected in some way, like fundraising. Honour your own coping style and follow the path this is your way to step through the loss that you now face. Please reach out and get some assistance if you feel you need some help.
Reach out and get help:
- Beyondblue (depression & anxiety): 1300 224 636
- Lifeline suicide & crisis support: 13 11 14
- Black Dog Institute: http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
- SANE Australia helpline: 1800 18 7263
- Headspace: 1800 65 0890
- Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
Katrina Cavanough is an Author, Life Strategist and Intuitive & Spirituality Coach.