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Responses to Trauma: What You Should Know (cont'd)

From:
City Crisis Team of New York (CCTNY)

WAYS TO HELP YOURSELF AFTER A TRAUMATIC INCIDENT
 

          Remember that you are normal and are having normal reactions. Don't label yourself crazy.

          Recognize that the process of healing from trauma is like a roller coaster ride.

          Use caution when attempting to numb the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol; you don't need to complicate this with a substance abuse problem.

          Stay in touch with your support system people really do care.

          Talk about what has occurred. This actually helps your brain process your experiences and helps you begin to heal.

          Whenever possible share what you are feeling. It is not necessary to repeat graphic details unless you and the person you are talking with agree that this is a good thing.

          Do share the details with someone when you are ready it is important to tell your story to someone who will not judge you and who can help you not judge yourself.

          Maintain as normal a schedule as possible; maintain your normal routine and rituals where possible.

          Give yourself permission to feel rotten.

          Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless hours

          Do things that feel good to you

          Realize that those around you are under stress too. Be as compassionate as you can with yourself and others.

          Get as much rest as you can

          Recognize that reoccurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks are normal dont try to fight them they will decrease over time and become less painful.

          Eat well-balanced meals even if you dont feel like it.

          Exercise (even a 5 minute walk around the block on a sunny day will help)

          Cry It removes stress chemicals from your body.

          Drink lots of water studies show that dehydration effects mental acuity and memory.

          Hug your family & friends; its good for you and them. Studies indicate that lack of touch can lead to failure to thrive.

          Be conscious of your language and replace negative comments with more neutral ones.

          Take time away from things that will remind you of the event

          Do make as many decisions as possible, as this will begin to give you a feeling of control over your life; e.g. if someone asks you what time you want to eat pick a time even if you are not sure.

         Set realistic expectations for yourself; be gentle with yourself and dont expect to function perfectly.

          Enhance your sense of control and accomplishment by giving yourselves credit for accomplishing tasks, no matter how small they are.

          Prepare for firsts, holidays, and  anniversaries of the event.

          When possible, laugh. It creates endorphins that help the body heal.

 

WAYS YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS CAN HELP RESPOND TO YOUR STRESS REACTION
 

          Spend time with the traumatized person

          Listen carefully, do not offer advice

          Offer your assistance if they have not asked for help

          Reassure them that they are safe and that you care for them

          Give them some private time

          Don't take their anger or other feelings personally

          Don't tell them that they are lucky it wasnt worse traumatized people are not consoled by those statements. Instead tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist them.

          Don't tell them that it is Gods will, let them find their own meaning in the incident.

City Crisis Team of New York (CCTNY)
c/o September Space
520 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
 
917-327-3405