The most important thing, they say, is not to make assumptions about how people feel or think
“It’s been a month, just cheer up. There’s nothing you can do, what’s the use of being sad? At least nothing happened to your loved ones.” And if any of these phrases are used by someone who is traumatized in conversation, please don’t do it.
According to mental health experts, such phrases do nothing but hurt.
Hadia Zarzour, an American mental health therapist currently based in Dubai, is no stranger to trauma. In fact, she is currently working remotely with support groups in Turkey to help earthquake survivors and their relatives.
Speaking of harrij times The most important thing, she said, is to make sure loved ones have a safe space and feel that their voices are being heard. “Check them out. Find out how they’re doing, listen to them without judgment. Most importantly, we shouldn’t make assumptions about how people feel or think,” she explains.
“If they want to talk about it, please don’t distract them, they will feel fired,” Hadia added.
She advises friends and loved ones to take someone who needs to talk outside or to a restaurant—a place where they feel comfortable, and the first thing they need to do is focus on calming the nervous system through breathing—connecting to the body through breathing and grounding .
When disaster strikes, people react differently, and there is no right or wrong way. “Some people rush to donate, some people are numb and distant, some people are overwhelmed by watching videos all day long. These are all natural reactions to trauma,” she said.
She explained that secondary trauma is when people have the same symptoms even though they are not directly affected and are far away. “If you react in any of these ways, don’t compare or judge that other people aren’t doing the same thing. We assume, we judge, we think, ‘What’s wrong with my friend? ” “Why is it taking so long?” “she says.
People should be encouraged to see a mental health professional if they are unable to perform their daily responsibilities and cry constantly. “Be aware of the people around you and notice if their level of functioning is intact,” she says.
Another tip is to really understand your own reactions to traumatic events before trying to help others. “If I need to help another person, I need to really understand my own situation. It’s like putting on an oxygen mask before helping someone else on a plane. The last thing you want to do is project your feelings onto someone else,” she said explain.
Nesma Luqman, a clinical psychologist at the Priory Wellbeing Centre, also said it was important not to “fix” things or minimize people’s experiences, but to be patient and understanding.
One piece of advice she gives when talking to those affected is to show empathy. “Send your condolences to a friend or acquaintance who was affected by the earthquake. Let them know that you are thinking of them and that you are there for them,” she said, adding, “Check in on them regularly to see how they are doing. This can Help them feel supported and cared for.”
Another important tip, according to Nesma, is to respect boundaries. “If your friend or acquaintance doesn’t want to talk about their experience or receive help, respect their boundaries and let them know you can reach out if they change their mind,” she explains.
According to Nesma, it’s also important not to make assumptions about what other people are going through and not to take over the conversation by dominating it. “Validate their emotions and acknowledge the difficulty they’re going through. You can say ‘I’m sorry this happened to you’ or ‘This must have been hard for you,'” she says.
Trauma can be invisible and hard to detect, but it leaves deep and lasting wounds, she said. “There is no one-size-fits-all way to support someone who has been through such a difficult situation, but there are many ways to show that you care,” she said, adding that recovering from trauma takes time and isn’t always linear process.
“Some days may be better than others, and setbacks are common,” she said.