The American Psychological Association defines post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD as an anxiety disorder which develops in people when they exposed to major traumatic events such as combat, accident, crime or any major natural disaster.
Like any other traumatic disaster, it is normal to feel sad, depressed, afraid and disconnected after facing a major natural disaster just like what happened in Nepal on 25 April 2015. The impact of this massive earthquake (magnitude of 7.8 Mw) was far beyond the physical damage. Survivors of such disaster can experience wide range of problems including confusion, stress, painful memories and constant sense of danger which can further lead to PTSD.
Natural disasters give mainly a feeling of betrayal to victims by “their gods”, which results in loss of their faith in life. Making peace with the “divine” is the firsts step towards healing and gaining faith back.
Just as it takes time to clear the broken bricks and repair the catastrophic damage, it takes time to recover from traumatic memories and emotional disturbance to rebuild the life again.
Fortunately, researchers have indicated that most people undergone such natural calamity, are able to recover from pain and bounce back in their normal life. There are number of ways which will help you to re-build your emotional well-being and cope up with both physical and emotional effects of such traumatic events.
1. Anticipate the fact
First and foremost is to accept the reality and the facts. Give yourself necessary time to understand the actuality and accept the losses you have experienced in this calamity.
Repetitious thinking about the incidents will always make you unhappy and helpless. Such thoughts will always trigger your nervous system making it harder for you to think clearly and act properly.
Eating well-balanced meals and getting plenty of rest is very essential as it helps to cope up with excessive stress. In case if you find difficulty in sleeping, you may get help from professional health experts or through relaxation techniques. Avoid use of alcohol or drugs as these will make the situation worst.
Ignoring these bad feelings will fast the healing process. It is always better to forget these painful emotions and feelings as more you pay attention to these, they will cause more damage especially to your mental state.
5. Share your feelings with your loved ones
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Just as you may find it difficult to forget all painful events associated with disaster, you may also find it difficult to communicate your experience with others. But getting out your feelings sometimes and sharing with your loved ones will make you more comfortable.
Just like sharing and expressing your painful experiences with others will make you feel comfortable, engaging yourself in creative activities such a writing a diary or involving in favorite hobbies (such as drawing, gardening, etc. will help you to forget and heal your pain faster.
There are number of relaxation activities such as meditation classes, aerobic exercises, yoga, which will also help you to relax and stay calm. These activities will help you to heal at body, mind and at soul.
8. Participate in support groups
Support groups which consist of trained and experienced professionals are generally available for survivors and victims. Group discussion makes you realize that you are not the only one going through such reactions and emotions and certainly helps you to overcome stress and pain to great extent. Such support groups meetings are especially helpful for those people who have limited personal support systems.
Don’t take major life decisions such as quitting job, or switching careers, etc. when you are going through your bad phase of life. It is always seen the decision made under huge amount of pressure and stress always turns to be wrong. Incase if you feel like doing so, taking support from your family and friends in decision making will always help.
10. Re-establish your routines and set your goal
Get back to your routine work schedule such as eating meals at regular time, sleeping at normal time, walking and involving in office/house work. Try to build in some positive routines to look forward and to make your goal stronger.
When to seek professional help?
If you persistently experience the symptoms of PTSD and find difficult to get through your daily responsibilities and activities, it’s a time to consult a mental health professional such as psychologist. The psychologist are trained professionals who help people to overcome their emotional reactions such as disbelief, stress, grief, anxiety by planning a proper treatment schedule for them.
Although these are the ten best ways to deal with PTSD, the support from family plays most important role in patient’s recovery from PTSD!
– By Nandini Kondur