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Dealing with Trauma

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, very close to home, we lived two very heartbreaking events that took us by surprise. One of them was the shooting in Thousand Oaks, and the other event was the tragedies caused by the fires.

Some people find it difficult to deal with events like these. For some people these events may cause trauma. That’s why I wanted to address this important issue.


When a devastating event interrupts your life, suddenly everything changes. You cannot go back to the routine you used to; you may have lost your home or a loved one or had a serious illness or accident. First, you will feel stunned, dejected, “beaten” or “anesthetized.” These are normal reactions that many people experience in the face of traumatic events. Mental trauma produces intense feelings and causes extreme behavior such as intense fear or uselessness, withdrawal or indifference, lack of concentration, irritability, sleep problems, aggression, hyper-vigilance, intense expectation of more painful events or memories to occur with the sensation that the event is recurrent.

An answer may be fear. Fear of a loved one getting hurt or dying. It is thought that the more a person is exposed to traumatic events, the greater their mental damage. For example, in a school shooting, a student who was injured will have a more severe emotional trauma than a student who was in another part of the building. However, indirect exposure to violence is also traumatic. This includes witnessing violence such a murder, the destruction of a building by a bomb or an explosion of an airplane.

The path back to wellness may take longer than expected. It is important to remember that others can help us in various ways and it is a good idea to ask for help.


We all have different needs and different ways of dealing with problems. There are several things you can do to help yourself or a loved one.

  • Avoid overexposing yourself and your loved ones to the incident through the news or social media

  • Practice meditation, breathing and muscle relaxation techniques

  • Eat a healthy diet

  • Exercise

  • Get enough sleep

  • Participate in activities that are non-stressful such as sports, a hobby or social gatherings

  • Participate in cultural activities of interest, including those of spiritual communities

  • Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional

  • Stay alert - Do not exceed alcohol consumption or the use of other drugs as a way to cope with stress


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