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In field traumatology, the first thing we learn is that people who "do something" when the trauma hits, are less likely to experience a hard hit than some of the people who do nothing. "Doing something", in whatever shape or form that might take, is actually a psychological survival mechanism. It gives one the feeling that one is not as helpless as the situation requires, or that some of the other people are experiencing. Take this as you might... Trauma victims are not just the ones who are directly affected by the disaster, but people who are bearing witness to it through assistance, or even through watching it on the news.

So, after seeing people post about this, here's my recommendation. Unless you are physically going out and doing something to help, STOP WATCHING THE NEWS. Constant exposure to the TV's reporting will reinforce the sense of helplessness, and you WILL experience secondary trauma. Your anxiety will go up, your sleep will suffer, and depression WILL set in sooner or later.

Take it from someone who's experienced this before. TURN YOUR TV OFF or minimize the time you're watching the news. The news will not change from one moment to another. Yes, the news is horrible. It's more than anything we've experienced before. But, unless you're doing something about, there's no need for you to constantly experience the sense of helplessness.

Again, people, TURN YOUR TVs OFF or minimize exposure. Your mind and your heart will thank you, and you will be able to maintain some sense of perspective and functioning on a daily basis.

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September 2005


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