As local wars take on a global scale, the average person is more likely to experience acts of terrorism. Terrorism is a threat to the mental health of societies because it aims to spread fear and helplessness on a mass scale. If you’re a trauma survivor who has been affected by terrorism there are a few things you can do to combat the negative impact.
- Remember. If you’ve experienced trauma in the past and recovered from it, remind yourself that you can heal. The initial impact of a terrorist act may leave you feeling depressed and afraid all over again, but having overcome trauma before it’s likely that you can do it again.
- Help. Get involved in helping the survivors of terrorism. Sharing your own story of trauma survival may help others better cope with their feelings surrounding the terrorist act. You can also get involved with charitable activities such as donating food and clothing to families made homeless by a terrorist act or volunteering your time with a non-profit organization that’s helping the survivors.
- Talk. Now is not the time to get quiet and isolate yourself. Reach out to other people coping with the aftermath of a terrorist act. Many employers will provide group therapy sessions to help their workers process the traumatic events. Never assume that your feelings don’t count and don’t try to “tough it out” by going numb and ignoring your emotions.
- Unplug. While it’s a good idea to stay aware of events right after or during a terrorist attack, at some point you’ll need to unplug the TV, radio, and Internet. Repeatedly exposing yourself to images of the terrorist act can actually create more anxiety and fear. So limit how much time you spend watching or listening to news about the terrorist attack.
- Stay busy. Don’t let yourself fall into a rut, stay on schedule with your daily routine. Staying busy with your life will help keep you levelheaded and focused on things other than the terrorist act.
- Pay attention. If you have children in the home, pay attention to how they are responding to the terrorist attack. Even if they did not directly witness the attack, they may still be traumatized. If you notice them growing quiet, unusually irritable, or particularly depressed, consider taking them to a trauma counselor.
As a survivor of past trauma, you may be more vulnerable to psychological effects of a terrorist attack. If you find yourself having intrusive and recurring thoughts about the event or you’re unable to function normally, don’t hesitate to seek help.