NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
· WITHING THE FIRST 24-48 HOURS periods of appropriate physical exercise, alternated with relaxation will alleviate some of the physical reactions.
· Structure your time; keep busy
· You’re normal and having normal reactions; don’t label yourself as crazy.
· Talk to people; talk is the most healing medicine.
· Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol, you don’t need to complicate this with substance abuse problems.
· Reach out; people do care.
· Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.
· Spend time with others.
· Help your co-workers as much as possible by sharing feelings and checking out how they are doing.
· Give yourself permission to feel rotten and share your feelings with others.
· Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless hours.
· Do things that feel good to you.
· Realize those around you are under stress.
· Don’t make any big life changes.
· Do make as many daily decisions as possible that will give you a feeling of control over your life, i.e., if someone asks you what you want to eat, answer even if you are not sure.
· Get plenty of rest.
· Don’t try to fight reoccurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks—they are normal and will decrease over time and become less painful.
· Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even if you don’t feel like it).
FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS:
· Listen carefully.
· Spend time with the traumatized person.
· Offer your assistance and a listening ear if they have not asked for it.
· Reassure them that they are safe.
· Help them with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, minding children.
· Give them some private time.
· Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally.
· Don’t tell them that they are “lucky it wasn’t worse;” a traumatized person is not consoled by those statements. Instead, tell them that your are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist them.
© International Critical Incident Stress Foundation Inc. 2001 All Rights Reserved