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How do we deal with unexpected trauma​?

Published by Tiffany on

Why is there so much hatred in the world? And yet, there is so much love.

I have been watching in horror and disbelief as yet another terrorist has destroyed families across the ocean. I can’t help but feel sad and heavy. 

Driving my own children to school on Monday morning, the realisation hit me of how much this will affect the lives of those left behind. 

How are families coping this morning, taking their own children to school in Christchurch? Are they feeling confused or scared? Are little children not wanting to leave the house out of fear?  

Driving down our beautiful tree-lined street, the radio chattered in the background. I looked ahead, seeing all the leaves starting to change colour, just as they are in New Zealand. Living life, minding my own business, just like our New Zealand neighbours were. Then trauma hit them. Without warning, without mercy, just pure terror. 

The radio talked of other things like hatred, violence, sadness but also strength. This is not the first time terrorists have threatened our peaceful way of life, and no sadly it is unlikely to be the last.  

What drives these actions? And how are we supposed to respond? 

Terror breeds fear, and like Yoda says, “Fear leads to hate, hate leads to the Darkside” and he is right. Should we be bound by fear, live our life in the shadows?  I think it’s what they want us to do.

I can’t do that. 

As an individual we wonder, how can I make a difference? What effect can I possibly have? When the scale of the issue is so large. 

“The journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step.” Leo Tzu

As a survivor of the Swiss Canyoning Disaster, I know how difficult it is to recover from significant trauma. How long it can take to heal both physical and emotional scars.  I came to learn, and still use today, many different coping strategies. 

The first place we can start is at home, by taking care of ourselves so that we may be able to care for others. Just like in the event of an emergency, if the plane is about to go down, we have to give ourselves oxygen first, before we can help those around us. 

Then, we must seek the strength to live a full life, filled with love. We must find the resolve to honour the life that we have and honour those that we have lost.

Trauma can have lasting effects if not dealt with. It affects us all in individual ways, just as we are all individuals.

Some symptoms can include:

  • Finding it hard to concentrate, remember details
  • Unable to relax, restless
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Feelings of anger, sadness, moody
  • Avoiding people. 

If you are suffering any of these symptoms, you may need to seek help.  Talking to a friend or family member, your local GP or helplines are a great place to start. 

There are many helplines available.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Sane 1800 187 263

The Australian Red Cross provides a great help sheet – Click Here if you are finding currents events stressful or causing you distress. 

I have found that coming through trauma can also bring us into the light, with enormous gratitude for the many blessings that we have. Eventually, we are able to move forward and help others.

If you would like to help those in New Zealand, please Click Here

I look around me again, it is peaceful. The children are at school, playing with the changing leaves of Autumn. I pray for all those families in New Zealand, for their happiness, safety, strength and freedom. May we all live in peace. 

Please share this post with anyone who you think may find this information useful, needs help or would enjoy reading.

Like or comment on this post. I would love to know your thoughts or how you are feeling at this time.

With much love

Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson


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