Thursday, September 08, 2005

Coping with Disaster

How can people recover from a disaster when they have lost everything, have no direction and very limited choices?
Traumatic memories that have intense emotions can result in long term physical and mental problems, which can be very difficult to recover from. Depression results from the confusion and lack of direction and utter hoplesness. The brain secretes chemicals into the body as a result of the unresolved stress and these chemicals, neuropeptides, create a very real physical depression. That depression leads to illness and disease.

In most cases the brain has no way to release the trapped emotions of a memory and the effect is that the brain seeks out other memories that have similar emotional content. This can start a devastating downward spiral.

The victims of hurricane Katrina have a long way to go to recover emotionally.

Can the brain somehow speed up the healing process to avoid months or years of emotional stress after such an event? I believe it can.

It helps to talk about it, of course. The more that the emotion is verbalized the more it is neutralized.
However, there are aspects of the emotional memory that cannot be resolved or released with talk alone. These memories are stored in a deeper sense and conscious thought rarely reaches them.
When the memories are resolved in a state of self hypnosis the emotions can be resolved. The intensity of the emotions can be removed and the brain can then store and entirely new set of emotions around this traumatic event.
For instance-
If you go into the memory and allow yourself to feel the emotion, the grief, the loss, and then move to the lessons that are being learned and the decisions you will make now, and the new value you will create for your life, however small, these new emotions are now stored in the same place in the brain where the trauma was stored.

Now- when a person accesses the traumatic memory it activates some of the positive emotions, even if they are minimal, they will result in helping a person heal because they are no longer faced with the chemical storm from the traumatic memory.

Those of us watching the negative images are absorbing the trauma and imagining what it would be like if it were happening to us. This can create a false memory that the subconscious mind believes to be real. Even though you know consciously that it didnt happen to you, the more you imagine it and wonder what it must have been like, and see the pictures and feel the pain, the more your subconscious mind will build similar negative memories.

Do you wonder why you feel so bad? Hard to keep going? Sad, stressed, confused for no reason?
Stop dwelling on the negative in this trauma. Find something that has meaning for you and creates a powerful value as a result of what you see.
Gratitude for what you have in your family, values that you create for yourself as a result of this, ways that you will plan ahead to protect yourself in the future, finding something - anything- positive, and dwelling on it. This may be hard, but necessary if you want to stop the cycle of trauma induced depression.

The victims- what can they do? How do they recover?
Making a decision, no matter how small, can give a person a sense of direction and control of their life. The biggest loss is that they have no say, no control, and no direction. Making a series of small decisions that give them direction will help to reduce the trauma because there is some sense of control. I know that sounds too simple, and in many ways it is. But for those living in shelters, who are angry and feeling helpless, there must be something that gives them direction and makes them feel needed. In the shelters and on the streets they are just in the way; bodies that need to be shuffled around. Their sense of self worth is at an all time low.

Give them some power by making sure they are needed and essential, for something- anything- and recovery will come a lot faster.
I am not sure how that can happen yet, but it is the initial step in feeling that you matter... after a the monumental message that you simply DO NOT MATTER.

The worst place to be in your life is when you reach a point where you don't matter. The lesson the victims learned is that they don't in fact matter, especially when it comes to basic survival.
Emotional recovery will come when they know they are needed.

I have no idea how that could happen, of course, but it is one of the elements of recovering.

Wendi Friesen


Tony said...

Good post Wendi. I have been reading about negative emotional memories and how they are carried until we learn to release them somehow. I have read that EFT is quite effective in ridding ones self from them. I am hearing about "The Healing Codes" now too, but they want $700 for them and I think they may just be EFT fancied up a bit-- not sure have you heard of them ?
Was this Kevin Hogan's seminar ? He seems to have the edge on covert influence, but too pricey for me.

zannierose said...

I hope hurricane survivors get to read this blog posting wendi, as in itself it offers hope.
I see folks in shelters have been given access to $2,000 each so fingers crossed it kick starts the return of self esteem and self belief
zannie rose

Harvey said...

Having lived in Mississippi during Camille in 1969, Katrina makes that storm look like a kitten. I will be in Gulfport next week, as my company is working on the environmental cleanup. I remember the utter pain back then and do have apprehensions now of what I will see & experience.