This year has been one for the history books. We started the year with a tragic helicopter crash ending in the loss of nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter. A couple of months later the United States, and other countries across the globe, went on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The month of May brought the horrific death of George Floyd and marches against systemic racism and social injustice. These events were seen across global platforms, but they do not tell the full story of what people have gone through this year. Families, friends, and individuals have been devastated by death, fear for their lives, working from home, and teaching kids at home. And the presidential election has been stressful as well. This list is by no means exhaustive. Reading this, you likely have your own list of devastations that have caused you stress this year.
Back in August 2017, I talked about secondary trauma in my blog entitled, Secondary Trauma and Self-Care (Jones, 2017). According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Secondary trauma is defined as “the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about a firsthand trauma experience from another” (http://www.nctsn.org/resources/topics/secondary-traumatic-stress).
Pay attention to the potential signs of secondary trauma in yourself and those around you. They can include:
“…sleeplessness, guilt, fear, illness, anger, social withdrawal, and minimizing (http://www.nctsn.org/resources/topics/secondary-traumatic-stress). Be vigilant in recognizing the signs and symptoms in yourself as you may easily begin to feel out of sorts, or depressed, if you let it continue without help. Talk to others and vent your feelings. It will help to validate what you are feeling. Join a support group of others that are dealing with family members or friends in counseling or some other services. Remember you need to be in good health mentally and physically to help your loved one or friend successfully navigate his or her journey. Also, be aware that you can help someone else to identify secondary trauma in himself or herself. Some support groups you can attend or share with someone you know that is experiencing secondary trauma are as follows: National Alliance for Mental Illness (https://www.nami.org), Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Greater Houston (https://www.dbsahouston.org/), Alcoholics Anonymous (www.aa.org), Narcotics Anonymous (https://www.na.org/), and the National Center for PTSD through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/). “ (Jones, 2017)
The year is not yet over. We cannot tell the future and how it will impact us. However, we can be prepared for what comes our way. Be diligent in caring for yourself. You can listen to audiobooks, read, listen to music, take walks or other exercises, take a nap, watch favorite TV shows or movies, talk to family or friends about what’s bothering you, listen to family or friends about what’s bothering them, keep a positive mindset, or whatever interests you. A positive mindset helps you to combat negative thoughts, which beget negative emotions and feels, which beget negative behaviors. So keep it positive!
Alcoholics Anonymous. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2017, from www.aa.org
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Greater Houston. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2017, from https://www.dbsahouston.org/
Jones, E. (2017). Retrieved from https://sinceremediapro.com/secondary-trauma-and-self-care-by-dr-eea-jones-august-1-2017-advocacynowmagazine-com-by-smp/ 11/15/2020.
Henson, J. S. (2017). When Compassion Is Lost. MEDSURG Nursing, 26(2), 139-142.
Narcotics Anonymous. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2017, from https://www.na.org/
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2017, from https://www.nami.org/
National Center for PTSD. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2017, from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/
Secondary Traumatic Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2017, from http://www.nctsn.org/resources/topics/secondary-traumatic-stress.