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Typical Reactions to Crisis
• Forgetfulness • Difficulty in making decisions • Poor concentration • Nightmares • Confusion • “Flashbacks” or crisis • Self-doubt
• Tiredness or loss of energy • Body aches and pain • Breathing difficulties • Rapid heartbeat • Choking in the throat/chest • Sweating or chills • Dizziness • Muscular tension • Trembling • Distress, nausea, vomiting • Headaches and/or back pain • Change in sexual interest • Menstrual disturbance
• Changes in activity level • Social withdrawal or isolation • Restlessness, agitation or pacing • Eating or appetite changes • Sleep disturbance/insomnia • Increased use of alcohol or drugs • Inability to relax
• Shock or denial • Sadness/grief - for deaths and losses experienced - which leads to sudden crying which takes you or others by surprise • Anger or irritability - at what has happened, at whoever has caused it or allowed it to happen - at the injustice and senselessness of it all - at the shame and indignities - at the lack of proper understanding by others, and of their inefficiencies • Feeling of hopelessness • Depression • Fear and anxiety - of breaking down or losing control - of similar event happening again - of being left alone - of sudden noise • Avoidance - of thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the crisis - of activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the crisis • Shame - for having been exposed as helpless and emotionally dependent - for not having done as one would have wished • Mood changes • Numbness - everything seems unreal, like a dream and that the event has not really happened • Guilt - for surviving, for being alive, for still having material things - for things not said or done • Disappointment - for all the plans that are now spoilt • Intrusive memories - of the crisis which are repeated, intrusive and distressing
Remember, you are not alone.
• Recognise and accept your feelings as normal responses to extreme circumstances. • Reach out and make contact with others. • Express your emotions - talk with friends and loved ones or keep a diary to help in the process. • Allow yourself to mourn. You have the right to grieve this loss. Remember, crying can give relief. • Express your emotions appropriately. • Keep life as normal as possible after the acute grief - get back to your daily routine • Get extra rest and set aside time to relax. • Breathe slowly, deeply, and well. Relaxation begins with slow, deep breathing from your diaphragm. • Eat regular balanced meals even if you don’t feel hungry. • Get active. Exercise or participate in some regular physical activity. • Be more careful around the home and on the road. • Allow children to share in your grief. • Let children talk about their emotions and express themselves through games and drawings.
• Bottle up your feelings. • Avoid talking about what has happened or what you are going through. • Make major decisions or changes in your life. • Depend on alcohol or drugs. • Expect the memories to go away – they may stay with you for a long time to come. • Forget that children experience similar feelings.
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