Overcoming Traumatic Experiences
1. Shock is an overload of the mental and emotional processing. This is a normal reaction to such an overwhelming traumatic experience. The closer one is to the experience, the greater the shock is. You should realize that it takes some time to process such experiences.
2. Disbelief is often a second response. Disbelief is similar to shock. Disbelief is the conflict of true facts with what we have previously believed to be true. For example, if we have firmly believed, for whatever reason, that terrorists could never penetrate a strong democratic nation such as America (09/11/01), we may not immediately accept the reality of the event.
3. Denial is a deliberate choice not to accept the truth.
Don't go there! It is an attempt to lie to yourself so you
don't feel so bad. There is always more lies that you need to cover
the first one.
Please see: "Defense Mechanisms".
4. Fear is another God given emotion. Most of us have experienced varying degrees of a sense of venerability to potential loss beyond the actual loss. Again, fear is a normal response. However, we must not continue in fear. We must by God's grace overcome fear or it will overcome us. I should caution that fear leads to confusion and to irrational thinking if it is allowed to stay over a long period of time. We must come to a trust in God. David chose to trust God when he was afraid. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee" (Psalm 56:3). Please see: "How To Overcome Fear".
5. Emotional Pain can well be expected in traumatic situation, either through direct contact or vicariously though our contact with other who are hurting. Although, I knew no one personally who lost their loved ones or their businesses through the attack on America, September 11, 2001, I have shed tears just seeing through the media those who have. Emotional wounds are just as real and the physical ones! Yet, we must allow ourselves to feel the pain. We must weep with those who weep. However, we must also realize that God desires to "supernaturally" bring healing to our wounds. Emotional wounds which are allowed to remain open are subject to bitterness and hate. "Healing For The Emotions".
6. Anger is another natural emotion. Yes, even Christians get angry! Paul wrote, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). We must be careful not to allow anger to continue to stay in our hearts. We must learn to put it away and redirect the emotional energy into a constructive path. "Overcoming Anger" & "Anger Resolution". Furthermore, one problem with anger is that it is like a pebble which is thrown into a pond. The ripples go out in every direction and effects much more than the intended target.
7. Blame usually follows the anger and is the target for
the release of our anger. We may blame others or ourselves for the
traumatic experience. However, we must come to forgive both others
and ourselves. We should remember that forgiveness is neither deserved
or earned. Sometimes we may even lay the blame upon God. "WHY, God
did you allow this to happen?" We may see God as being unfair and
withdraw ourselves from a fellowship with Him.
"Life Is Unfair".
8. Unforgiveness will be a temptation that will come to all of us. Forgiveness is essential to receive healing. Yes, I mean that we must forgive, on an individual basis those who have offended and hurt us, even our national leaders. However, this does not mean that justice on a governmental or national level should not be carried out. Revenge belongs to God. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19). Justice is delegated to God and those in authority. In fact, justice demands the execution of those behind the murdering of innocence people. However, unless we forgive on an individual level, we will open ourselves to the spirit of bitterness which in and of itself also destroy us. "The Bondage Of Unforgiveness". In fact, we must go beyond forgiveness to love our enemies and pray for them that they may repent and turn to God. "True Love Manifested".
9. Loneliness will be experienced by many who have lost family and friends through divorce or death. It may be unexpected, a shock, but also a reality. People are gone or died and there is a great loss. The experience is real although we wish it was not. There will be a temptation to use alcohol, drugs, or work to easy the pain, but they will not fill the great void. There is only one person which can in some sense fill the void. "Overcoming Loneliness".
10. Sadness is also a natural and expected emotion. It can move in like a rainy day that just seems to last forever. Again, let us weep with those who weep. There is nothing wrong with the shedding of tears. Even Jesus wept. However, there must also come a time when the weeping is over. There is a way to get beyond the sadness. "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified" (Isaiah 61:3). "I Did It In Desperation!"
11. Depression may well set in if we get stuck in the midst of the tragedy. Depression is more than the rainy day. It is the dark threatening clouds of gloom and hopelessness. God does not want us to live with or cope with depression. He has provided a way out! There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train, but daylight. "One Answer For Depression".
12. Anxiety is often the result of unresolved emotional trauma. Anxiety may be defined as a fear without a current threat of loss. Anxiety can cripple the freedom of one to work, have appropriate relationships, and enjoy the the life that God has provided. "Freedom From Anxiety".