Safe Harbor Against Crises and Traumas Family

A tiny virus that emerged at one end of the world suddenly changed the lives of people all over the world, all of us. Scientists in other countries and in our country have insisted that we stay in our homes so that we can stay healthy by being protected from the virus and prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, in order to be alive and healthy, all people, young and old, young or old, who do not have to work, started to stay in our homes and live in our homes.

In the process, our homes and families have become even more meaningful. This period of time was an opportunity born out of necessity for family members who wanted to but could not spend time together, and for families with difficulties to spend time together, it created the process of learning to live together again.

Whatever the circumstances, we have to live in the same house against a common challenge. In order to overcome this difficulty, each individual needs the support of the family institution as well. We can compare the family institution to the states. Each state has its own cultural characteristics and rules. If these rules are created to be healthy, to include all family members, if there is an obligation to comply with the rules and if these rules are arranged to meet the needs of family members, every member of the family will think that my family is strong and I will overcome this difficulty with solidarity with my family. This idea creates trust, especially in situations where uncertainty is effective.

Since it is not yet clear how long we should stay in our homes, we can try to strengthen our homes in the face of difficulties and turn them into safe havens, what do you think?

The event we live in; It is an unexpected, unusual and difficult event that occurs in the flow and ordinary course of life. This unusual situation is also; It is an event that carries the risk of losing our health, physical integrity and loved ones. We call such events/situations crisis, trauma in psychology.

In general, it is possible to consider crisis and traumatic events in three groups:

1. Developmental (natural) Crises: Refers to crisis situations involving life events such as adolescence, graduating from school, changing jobs, getting married, having children, and retiring.

2. Situational Crises: These are crisis situations such as separation, divorce, loss of spouse, unemployment, bankruptcy, traffic accident, emergence of a serious illness, disability, infectious diseases.

3. Complex Crises, Traumas: These are crises that include situations such as domestic violence, rape/harassment, exposure to torture, natural disasters, terrorism and war.

In particular, individuals can overcome developmental crises in a short time with the support they receive from their relatives, family and friends, and they can adapt to changing life events.

In traumatic events that threaten human life and physical integrity, individuals may show different reactions during or after trauma. Intense emotions such as anxiety, fear, insecurity, anger, guilt, sadness, grief, and surprise may be experienced during the trauma process. The reactions of some individuals can pass in a short time and spontaneously. In addition, there are individuals who can cope with the problems caused by crisis and trauma by getting medical help and psychological support. This situation differs from individual to individual and it is possible to list many reasons to explain this situation.

We can classify the stress reactions that occur during the trauma process as physical, behavioral, emotional and cognitive.

Physical Responses;

Rapid breathing, palpitations, sweating, tremors, dizziness, headaches, digestive difficulties, fatigue, weakness, excitement, tension, loss of appetite and changes in desire to sleep, increase in existing physical health problems can be examples of frequently occurring physical reactions.

Behavioral Responses;

Crying, distraction, carelessness in self-care, resentment, vigilance, communication difficulties in family and work environment, inability to express feelings and thoughts, introversion, increase in alcohol, cigarette and drug use, emergence or increase of tics, restlessness, eating problems, escape and avoidance reactions, and behavioral reactions can be given as examples.

Emotional Responses;

We can give examples of reactions such as sadness, resentment, helplessness, numbness, irritability, anger, fear, anxiety, state of anxiety, decreased tolerance.

Cognitive Responses;

Cognitive reactions include difficulty in concentrating and distraction, the presence of thoughts about trauma or crisis in the mind and being unable to cope with these thoughts, creating irrational and repetitive negative scenarios, forgetfulness, inability to solve problems, and indecision.

A person may have faced one or more crises and traumas in his life. We know that each individual can react differently to traumatic events. While some individuals can cope easily on their own, the process can be difficult for some individuals. In individuals who can cope, the presence of family support is a very important factor. The approach, communication style, support and patience shown by the family to the affected member contribute to the individual’s return to life.

The needs of individuals facing trauma can be addressed in five groups.

1. Preschool children 2. School age children 3. Adolescents 4. Adults 5. Elderly

Every individual has common needs, regardless of whether they are children, young, old or disabled. The common needs include the safety of oneself, loved ones and family, meeting the needs that will sustain life, feeling valuable, information and rights that will not create uncertainty about the life process, the need for information about medical developments. 1. Preschool children

Children in this period tend to associate what is happening in the world with their own behavior and interpret it with the emotional reactions of their parents. They may think that this has happened to them because of a behavior they should not have done, so this should be taken into account. It should be clearly stated that the negative situation experienced has nothing to do with his behavior.

Children in this period can express their emotions more easily through games. We can try to understand the emotions he experiences by playing games and painting more often, and his angry reactions, desire to cry, disturbed sleep patterns, waking up crying, changes in appetite, tics, speech difficulties, infantile behaviors can be evaluated as clues showing that the events we experience affect the child.

What can we do?

You can often express in a safe tone of voice that you are safe for the child in this period, your love for him and each other, that scientists are trying to make medicines and vaccines to solve the problems, that the administrators, doctors and police in our country take precautions for your health and safety.

You can ensure that traumatic news is not watched on television and the internet. You can answer their questions accurately, clearly and in unison with all family members in a way that is appropriate for their age. You can try to play games, discover activities together, create enjoyable daily routines, make toys from materials found at home, call friends on the phone, do sports, sing together, make cookies, write stories.

2.School age children

In this period, emotional and behavioral changes such as avoidance of communication, anger, physical complaints, headache, stomachache, changes in sleep and appetite, loss of interest in social activities, withdrawal from classes, sibling jealousy, hyperactivity, restlessness, aggressive behaviors, and fear can be observed in children. .

What can be done?

It is important for school-age children to create daily routines, prepare the ground for expressing their feelings and thoughts, and express their own feelings and thoughts in a way that can be a model. By sharing information about the process, you may be able to see the mistakes and deficiencies that have occurred in his mind. At home, you can give him responsibilities that are appropriate for his age, that he can enjoy, and make him communicate with his friends, teachers, elders whom he respects and loves. You can help him find and maintain hobbies. You can talk about aggressive attitudes and behaviors without getting angry, and you can state that you are trying to understand the reason for these behaviors and that you are upset about these behaviors.

3. Adolescents

In traumatic processes, some adolescents may display rebellious and aggressive behaviors, take risks, use alcohol and cigarettes, as well as display withdrawal, irritability, crying, sleeping and eating problems.

They may also engage in not fulfilling their responsibilities, making sudden reactions, and unexpected behaviors in family and friend relationships. Physical complaints, weakness, anxiety and depressive symptoms may also be observed.

What can we do?

Approaches to adolescents can be non-oppressive and encouraging.

The language used can be made solution-oriented, not conflict-oriented.

You can try to explain the feelings and thoughts you experience when you do not fulfill your responsibilities for your lessons and housework.

You can ask about their feelings and thoughts about the traumatic event, and what are the possible solutions. You can start a constructive conversation based on his response.

Peer support is very important in this age group, and it should be supported to maintain communication with peers.

Adolescents may be asked to choose and lead exercises that can be done at home.


4. Adults

Although the thought that he should behave in a controlled manner in the family and take care of family members who need attention and support during the traumatic process can make him stronger in dealing with trauma, it is also a situation that can cause exhaustion.

Constant vigilance can lead to crying and outbursts of anger. There may be an increase in the use of alcohol and cigarettes. There may be physical complaints such as gastrointestinal problems, pain, sleep and eating problems, and fatigue, as well as an increase in existing health problems.

What can be done?

It will feel good for the adult who takes care of his family and relatives to observe his own thoughts and feelings and share them with his relatives so that he does not experience burnout.

Instead of waiting for family members to think about things like sharing housework, asking for support by communicating openly, accepting that it cannot provide a solution in every issue, trying to maintain belief in the days when uncertainty will end after the measures taken, may be remedial suggestions.

While creating routines that will not be tiring and enjoyable, video or audio conversations with distant family members, friends and neighbors on the phone will make you feel powerful in coping with trauma.

A healthy diet, regular sleep and adequate physical exercise can increase endurance.

Reducing the consumption of caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes will help them to resist the feeling of helplessness in order to stay healthy.

Traumatic news and conspiracy theories should be avoided through the Internet and television.

5. Seniors

In the face of the traumatic event, the previously suppressed traumas of the elderly person may also occur, and this may cause them to become more vulnerable, helpless, and to feel fear and anxiety against the latest event or situation.

Due to the recent virus epidemic, the statistics of the death rates of the elderly people, the fact that the curfew included this age group, and the knowledge that there may be vulnerability to the virus constitute secondary trauma. It may cause the presence of thoughts of death, which is frequent due to their age, to increase further and to experience psychological problems.

Since social isolation and curfew have ended her limited but healing social life, forced introversion poses a risk of providing emotional introversion.

Increase in chronic health problems, sleep disturbance, memory problems, restlessness, numbness, anger, fear, anxiety are the emotions that can be observed in elderly individuals.

What can be done?

First of all, elderly individuals should be given clear information that their physical needs will be met in a qualified manner and that they will be safe. It should be emphasized that they will return to their daily lives in a short time, and that they are in a state of mobilization for this purpose.

Free corporate services should be provided quickly to the elderly who do not have relatives or who cannot receive support from their relatives. Cash support should also be provided when necessary. Communication channels should be provided with peers and family members, where they can share their feelings and thoughts about the traumatic event.

There is a reality that they remind us of at this time in their lives: they left behind many problems and various traumatic experiences they faced, they coped with them and they continue to be with us now. therefore, we can make them feel how valuable they are to us, that they set a model for us and that their existence and the knowledge that they have coped with life in various ways.


What can we do for ourselves?

By realizing what our feelings and thoughts are in the face of the trauma experienced, we can share them with our relatives.

We can maintain ties with friends, family and social circles.

We can plan the day with healthy eating, regular sleep and exercise programs.

Through relaxation exercise, we can start and continue an activity that can relax the muscles, such as yoga, meditation.

We can enjoy and maintain a routine without rushing and rushing.

If we have to continue working life, we can focus on what we can do to protect ourselves physically and spiritually.

We can focus on activities we enjoy doing, such as finding and implementing activities that cannot be done due to lack of time, reading books, watching movies.

And we can often remind ourselves: “This situation is temporary and will end. We will continue our lives stronger with new discoveries and what we have learned.”

All of you stay healthy…

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