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Reactions in crisis and drama

Published: 28 March 2018

That we react in a crisis is perfectly natural and just as it should be. How you respond to a crisis depends on what triggered it, if the triggering event comes suddenly, your individually learned ways to deal with difficult situations and how strong the stress is.

A stable network often works stabilizing. Children and young adults who do not have previous crises and developed coping strategies often need support during crises.

When the accident happens or when you get a serious message, it is difficult to immediately understand what happened. Many have feelings of unreality and experience emotional paralysis. It can feel quite chaotic inside, although many on the surface may seem calm.

Eventually, for a short while, a day or more, we begin to understand that what has really happened has happened, although it may still feel unreal at some level. It can feel both mentally and emotionally confusing at first because it is hard to accept that life has changed significantly.

Concerns, despondency, fear and mood swings are natural reactions during the first period. Sleep difficulties, concentration and memory difficulties are common and you may find it hard to think of anything other than what has happened. It is also common during serious crises that one may feel unusually present and sharpened, alert to act and feel confident.

After a while, it becomes possible to start working with and not against the new life circumstances. Adapting to new life circumstances can take time. You mourn what you have lost, create experiences from what has happened and re-evaluate what you have previously taken for granted. Over time, the mental balance also stabilizes.

Many people describe that they move on in life with a stronger self-esteem and that they have learned something new about life and about themselves, even though they have preferably failed to be part of what triggered the crisis.

Post-reaction to traumatic events is common:

  • Anxiety, fear. Many people experience insecurity in their everyday lives when something that you do not expect should happen anyway. It can be difficult to be alone and you feel restless and restless in the body.
  • Intrusive memories. Especially common for those who have been involved in the disaster. All the impressions of the mind are gathered and relived in both awakened state and sleep. Visual impressions are most common. They can help in the integration of memory, and if they persist for a long time can be an indication that help should be sought.
  • Memory and concentration difficulties. The paths of thought are constantly interrupted by thoughts of or reliving the disaster or loss. Study performance deteriorates and the greater the own / others' demands for achievement, the more difficult it may be to manage their studies.
  • Sleep disorders often occur. Usually sleep difficulties, and waking up during the night in connection with disaster dreams or other nightmares. If we try not to think about the trauma in a waking state (pushing away), it often results in sleep disorders and nightmares.
  • Physical disorders such as restlessness, anxiety, muscle aches, headaches and gastrointestinal problems are common.
  • Survival debt. By that is meant the difficulty survivors of disasters may have to reconcile with the death of others, while they were allowed to live. The reactions can be based on what you did or did not do.
  • Grief / depression. Grief and crying occur naturally. The reactions can be amplified if the victims themselves have been in danger of death. Of course, in people who have lost close relatives, the lack, pain, longing and crying becomes more pronounced. It is just as natural that the feeling oscillates between sadness and joy, that one sometimes feels as usual or can feel commitment in life, it is a sign that the body is taking care and integrating what has happened.
  • Suicidal thoughts / plans. In the case of recurring suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek professional support.
  • Irritability and anger. Anger and irritability can take different forms. It can be directed at the individual himself, helpers or family and friends.
  • Thoughts, feelings and memories of past trauma come back. If previous trauma exists, these emerge in connection with the new crisis and it can be very stressful for the affected person. It may then be good to seek call support.
  • The relationship with others can be made more difficult if the affected person isolates himself. The attention of the surroundings can be intense at first, and can unfortunately be short-lived. It can become a difficulty, as the lack and longing are often felt most strongly when a time has passed and you have to return to your everyday life. It is important that friends / fellow students are aware that the need for support exists for a long time.