First Responders, Caregivers & Everyday People
Trauma Doesn’t Discriminate
The World Health Organization has stated that the burden of mental distress “…continues to grow with significant impacts on health and major social, human rights and economic consequences in all countries of the world.” This awareness is causing people in all walks of life to consider the need to care for mental health in much the same way we have come to care for our physical needs.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry has reported that first responders have a rate of trauma related mental disorders FOUR TIMES that of the general public. If you are in service to others in any capacity you have an elevated risk of trauma, anxiety and depression for a variety of reasons. Servants often don’t recognize the impact on personal health and wellness of constant denial of self in service to others. In much the same way that certain lifestyles represent a clock ticking toward calamity, lack of emotional self-care can be a recipe for disaster. Servants need to learn how to care for themselves, and that includes caring for their mental health.
Some Service Jobs Have More Traumatic Incidents with
Higher Levels of Anxiety & Depression
These jobs include, but are not limited to:
Caretakers of Elderly or Special Needs People
Therapists & Social Workers
Nurses & Doctors
Prison Guards & Correctional Officers
Personal Support Workers
911 Operators & Crisis Lines
Residue of Trauma – Why FEELINGS MATTER
In his book “The Body Keeps Score”, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk says: “Emotional pain and disturbing memories can stay in our bodies long after a traumatic situation has ended.”
Trauma can range from something that seems innocuous to an adult but is significant to a child, to the death of a loved one or pet, to repeated emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Many people who care for others in some way often witness or experience violent or emotionally disturbing events in their own lives or the lives of those they are serving or care for. Every person responds to trauma in a different way, and those events impact the lives we live.
When the autonomic nervous system works too hard, for too long, physical illness and other body-related complications can result. — Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, RMT
Suppressed Emotions Manifest Somewhere – Your Mental & Physical Health
The repeated act of suppressing emotions caused by any life event has a high potential to result in behaviors that do not seem linked to the emotion in any way. There is a lot of research that leads us to believe that continually suppressing emotions consciously and deliberately can lead to damaging effects on mind and body.
Behaviors that may be the result from suppressed emotions related to
traumatic events may include, but are not limited to:
Conflictual, Oppositional or Victim Attitude – distress
Continued states of high anxiety
Addictions (sex, drugs, alcohol etc)
Overworking & Underworking
Sleep deprivation or Oversleeping
Anxiety and panic attacks
MIND & BODY – How Trauma Can Manifest in Your Body
This lack of physical care due to emotional illness can lead to serious health problems.
Physical issues related to mental health issues can include, but are not limited to:
High blood pressure
Muscle Tension & Pain
Weakened immune system
Depression alone can cause chronic fatigue, insomnia and increased sensitivity to aches and pains due to abnormal function of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Moving Beyond Trauma – Help is Available
We all have some level of trauma stored in our bodies. If it is not properly managed, it accumulates and eventually manifests in some way. Trauma can be moved and released with the right tools. Learning how to work with anxiety and depression and trauma can be liberating and life changing. Take a step.
If you are struggling with a burden you think no one understands, there is help available from someone who knows your struggle first hand. You are not alone. Take this opportunity to care for yourself like you have cared for others.