Mercy, Mercy We: Managing Stress in Traumatic Times

How events like Ferguson impact our emotional and physical health. 

Posted: 08/18/2014 04:07 PM EDT
Mercy, Mercy We: Managing Stress In Traumatic Times

Are we living in 1964 or 2014!?!

Yes, I am aware it is 2014, but with all that has taken place recently one must wonder. I mean c’mon,  it seems like every week we have to hear of or deal with a tragedy that tops the one before. The news, community conversation, social media platforms, TV and radio all seem to spew the same message with no solutions.

Violence and reports of it in this magnitude, overlapping moment by moment, can eventually take up residence in a society’s mind. Like combat veterans, every day citizens – especially our youth – develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As many as one-third of children living in our country’s urban neighborhoods have PTSD, according to recent research and the country’s top child trauma experts. That’s nearly twice the rate reported for troops returning from war zones in Iraq. Can you imagine what the number is for adults who are bombarded with violence on all media platforms and not to mention their daily life stressors?

My questions in the midst of all of this are, where do we go to process our emotions, who do we turn to, how do we deal with it all and what can we do to stay sane and mentally healthy in these stressful times?

First, let’s look at some of the symptoms of stress.

Your Behavior:

—An increase or decrease in your energy and activity levels

—An increase in your alcohol, tobacco use, or use of illegal drugs

—An increase in irritability, with outbursts of anger and frequent arguing

—Having trouble relaxing or sleeping

—Crying frequently

—Worrying excessively

—Wanting to be alone most of the time

—Blaming other people for everything

—Having difficulty communicating or listening

—Having difficulty giving or accepting help

—Inability to feel pleasure or have fun

Read more about stress and racial traumatic events at BlackDoctor.Org.

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(Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

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