Today, a large number of people are being exposed to or affected by to some type of traumatic event in some form or fashion. The impact these traumatic events can cause one to experience symptoms of stress that can be both scary and overwhelming for them and their family. Stress can disrupt a person’s performance and may threaten their health if not managed carefully. Recognizing the symptoms of stress is a serious matter and it is very important to know what to do if you find yourself experiencing it.
An unusual intense stress response may interfere with the body’s immune system, rational thinking and emotions. Reactions to this stress activate a physical and mental defense system that is closely associated with survival. When unresolved, however, critical stress may turn into disruptive and painful conditions that may include: difficulty sleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating and, having feelings of anxiety and panic.
Others may experience what is known as Hyper-vigilance which means the person is always being on the lookout for danger becoming overly paranoid and unable to function in day to day activities. This traumatized person often feels depressed and should seek help immediately because these feelings can lead to thoughts of suicide or suicidal actions. One of the best ways to deal with traumatic stress is to talk to someone - people you trust such as a friend, colleague, and trained support personnel. JUST TALK TO SOMEONE! Do not try to over control these types of emotions on your own. Discharging or releasing these emotions and thoughts is healthier than trying to completely suppress them.
If you know someone who is experiences these types of stress, don’t joke excessively about the tragedy. Humor can serve as an effective coping mechanism for some but, often times, many that affected by stress are extremely sensitive and could find your humor very inappropriate.
If you are that person or know of someone who is experiencing any of the types of stress mentioned, get immediate help now. Please contact the one of the following crisis hotlines:
— Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
— National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish-speaking callers)
— Youth Mental Health Line: 1-888-568-1112
— Child-Help USA: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hour toll free) Coping With Stress
Everyone has a unique response to how they cope with stress. There is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. There is no single method that works for everyone nor is there one single method that will work in every situation. So experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. I suggest that you avoid alcohol intake in large quantities - this can lead to other problems and interfere with sleep. Just try to restore your normal routine as soon as possible and get back to your day-to-day activities. This will help you to remove the focus from the event that is causing you this stress and help you to cope.
Stress is manageable — you just have to find the best method that will help you to cope with it.
Michael L. Fowler is the coroner for Dougherty County.