Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
I always feel uneasy around the anniversary of 9/11. I wasn’t there and don’t know anyone who was, but the many videos and images of that awful day make me extremely depressed. This is sometimes amplified because I know so many are grieving their lost loved ones, and those who were there and are still dealing with the events of that day makes me emotional. Since 9/11, I’ve been terrified to fly and refuse to enter tall buildings. It all makes me very anxious. How can I work through these feelings and prevent my anxiousness?
Most of us remember exactly where we were on September 11th, 2001. To many, it seems like yesterday when we were learning about those devastating attacks. This week will mark the 19th anniversary of this tragic event, and the mental health effects for those who were there continue to linger on.
It seems as if each generation experiences an event that results in emotional distress and changes how they live their lives. Mentally letting go of the fear, anxiety, and depression caused by such an event isn’t easy. Fortunately, it can be managed, and Rice Psychology Group is here to help.
The Emotional Aftermath
Thanks to the news and social media, everyday people can be exposed to the horrors of disastrous events happening in the world. TheRecoveryVillage.com shared a nationwide study of 2,273 adults and found that the prevalence of PTSD in America was 4% after 9/11 as a direct result of news coverage. Another study of 560 American adults found that 44% dealt with at least one symptom of PTSD, such as disturbing memories and insomnia.
These studies show that the media played a role in the increase of anxiety across the country. And the rise of smartphones and social media since 9/11 sometimes provides up close and graphic exposure to events like terrorist attacks, school shootings, rioting, etc.
Constant exposure to these things can be unhealthy and may cause long-term effects on your mental health. It can also alter one’s view of the world and our society. As we approach another September 11th anniversary, our licensed psychologists and therapists suggest limiting your exposure to repeated images and news stories of these tragedies.
Coping with a Traumatic Event
Once a traumatic event occurs, it can be difficult to know how much of an impact it’s had on your mental health. Trying to understand and sort through your feelings will take time, and for some, a little bit of work will be needed to fully grasp the magnitude it’s taken, both mentally and physically.
Although speaking with a licensed psychologist or therapist may be your best course of action, there are some things you can do on your own when a traumatic event occurs. The American Psychiatric Association suggests the following:
- Eat, hydrate, and try to rest because taking care of your body can relieve stress.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs as a coping method. Instead, find healthy ways to relax, such as meditation or breathing exercises.
- Try to exercise when you can to relieve tension and stress.
- Limit your exposure to TV and social media since overexposure can increase anxiety and depression.
- Stay connected with friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Speak to them often, especially when you’re feeling down.
- Remind yourself that it’s normal to feel this way and that “good days” and “bad days” are a part of recovery.
Also, giving yourself time to feel better is important. Trying to rush your recovery or ignoring your feelings can be harmful in the long run.
Facing the Future Together
We’re currently offering private, online sessions via telehealth as well as a limited number of telehealth evaluations for all ages. If you’d like to schedule a session or learn more about how we can help you, then please contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Rice Psychology Group would like to send our thoughts and love to those directly affected by the events of September 11th, 2001. May we never forget the events of that day, the people involved, and the connected spirit of America that we experienced as part of the aftermath.