In the first 30-60 days following the incident, there are many expected responses that are normal reactions to an abnormal event. These responses may occur in the physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual realms. Items below marked ** indicate medical evaluation is indicated:
Body: fatigue, nausea, dizziness, aches, twitches, sweating, chills, visual difficulties, fainting, rapid heart rate, dry mouth/thirst, chest pain and breathing problems**, shock symptoms (cold/clammy hands and feet, blue-tinged skin tone, fast rate of breathing, decrease in blood pressure)**;
Thinking: disorientation (confusion about time, date, place), seeing event over and over, disrupted sleep, illogical thinking, poor problem-solving, poor attention and memory, increased alertness of surroundings, easily startled, dazed appearance;
Feeling: numb, fearful, apprehensive, guilty, ashamed, anxious, sad, helpless, angry, overwhelmed;
Behavior: change in usual behavior, change in communication/speech, unusually quiet or talkative, emotional outbursts, increased/decreased appetite, pacing/restless, non-specific body complaints, increased self-medicating (drugs/alcohol), decreased regard for personal safety, change in sexual functioning; and
Spiritual: anger at “higher power,” loss of faith, confusion about life’s meaning and purpose, familiar faith practices and rituals seem empty, isolation from faith community, bargaining with “higher power,” questioning good vs. evil, questioning one’s own value, and searching for answers.
In the longer-term, some of these may intermittently arise but reduce in their frequency and intensity. To the degree any of these symptoms interfere with your daily life, relationships, or work, seeking professional mental health assessment is strongly advised.
Where can I find some ease within or around this experience — just as it is?