There are a variety of trauma reactions that one may go through when dealing with a disaster and one of those is depression.
Now I have personally suffered with depression for many years and it’s not nice and it’s not easy but today we are looking at the depression that you may go through after disaster and the techniques that can better help you to cope.
Sometimes you may find that it is too difficult and too much to handle on your own. If this is the case, I urge you to reach out for help.
If you just need a listening ear while you vent your frustrations, get in touch and I will listen without judgement.
What is Depression?
Depression is a disorder that is evidenced by excessive sadness, loss of interest in enjoyable things, and low motivation.
It’s important to understand however, there is a difference between depression and sadness.
It is a normal reaction for somebody to experience feelings of sadness in response to adverse life events and in most cases, these feelings of sadness resolve as you come to terms with the changes in your life. In situations such as bereavement, these feelings may persist for months and return at significant times, such as birthdays and anniversaries related to the lost loved one. Provided you have times when you can enjoy things, however, this sadness is not a sign of depression.
Depression is common. One in three people will experience a major depressive episode at some stage in their lives. While most cases of depression are mild, about one person in ten will have a moderate or severe episode.
Dealing with Depression After a Disaster
- Stay active. Falling into passivity can worsen psychological and physical disaster reactions. Take up some form of exercise as this can help lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently by walking for 20 minutes every day.
- Resume a normal routine as soon as possible. When people feel down, they can get into poor sleep patterns, staying up late and sleeping during the day. Try to get up at your normal time and stick to your routine as much as possible. Not having a routine can affect your eating. Try to carry on cooking and eating regular meals.
- Remind yourself that the reactions you’re having are considered part of the trauma cycle. It’s especially important to teach children that these reactions are “normal”.
- Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol. And avoid caffeine as its effects can amplify anxiety and stress response. You may drink more than usual as a way of coping with or hiding your emotions, or just to fill time. But alcohol won’t help you solve your problems and could also make you feel more depressed.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your experience.
- It’s okay to spend some time by yourself, or on the other hand, feel the need to be with others. Don’t withdraw from life. Socialising can improve your mood. Keeping in touch with friends and family means you have someone to talk to when you feel low.
- Avoid over-exposure to media images and newscast related to the disaster.
- Realize those around you are also under stress and may not react in a manner you’d normally expect.
- Understand that chaos may be the “new normal” and that a return to stability may be days, week or months away.
- Make decisions that will give you the control over your life.