Here at Calvary, our hearts go out to anyone affected by the bombings in Boston yesterday. We also understand that an event like this can have far-reaching effects, felt by those who may not even have been present. While we always encourage individuals to take care of their mental health, times of extra stress can require additional support.
Please find below some definitions, coping mechanisms, and resources that we hope are helpful.
- Stress: A mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.
- Anxiety: A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties, OR, a state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
- Trauma: An emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person, often leading to neurosis.
- PTSD: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. A severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.
- Depression: A condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
- Clinical Depression: a depression so severe as to be considered abnormal, either because of no obvious environmental causes, or because the reaction to unfortunate life circumstances is more intense or prolonged than would generally be expected.
What can I do? Experts recommend:
- Tell someone. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to reach out to those you trust. Family, friends, church members, neighbors or mental health professionals are all good resources.
- Take care of your physical health. Get good sleep, eat healthy foods, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Your mental health can be impacted by your physical health.
- Write in a journal. It can be helpful to express yourself by getting your thoughts out on paper.
- Take a walk. Physical exercise has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety.
- Speak to a mental health professional. What you’re going through may be aided by the help of a professional. Counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists have special training and education related to mental health.
- Check with your employer or state social services about what resources may be available to you.
- Distress Hotline: A hotline (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) operate 24/7 for those in distress related to disasters in the U.S. http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov
- “Taking Care of Your Emotional Health after a Disaster” A one-page resource from The Red Cross: http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/media/899/emotionalhealth.pdf
- US Department for Veterans Affairs has a smartphone app to aid in PTSD treatment: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/fslist_mobile_apps.asp
- The National Suicide Prevention Hotline operates 24/7 and also has options for those who are deaf or hard of hearing: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
These are just a few of the resources available to you. There are many different ways of getting through a hard time, and each person is different. Do not be discouraged if one strategy doesn’t resonate with you – keep working to find something that does.
Clinical definitions from Wikipedia and dictionary.com