Coping with Reactions to the One-Year Mark
As the one year mark of this event approaches, you may find that you are feeling more distressed, have trouble sleeping or eating, or find that you are thinking about the event a lot. Traumatic events are stored as powerful memories in our brain, and when those memories are activated, they have the power to affect our feelings and behavior, even years later. News coverage about the one year mark or memorial events may also serve as a trigger for unpleasant feelings.
There is no right or wrong reaction to a one year mark date. Everyone grieves and heals differently. Do what feels right for you.
What Symptoms Might I Feel?
Feeling Keyed Up
You may feel anxious, fearful or unable to relax. You may find that you startle easily, you cannot sleep, have trouble eating or you get angry quickly.
Feeling Negative or Sad
You may feel sad or cry thinking about who or what you lost or how things have changed. It may be hard to talk to family or friends.
Reliving The Event
You may find yourself suddenly feeling as if the event were happening again. Things that remind you of the trauma, sometimes called triggers, may cause you to feel as if you were living it again.
You may find that you are avoiding, or want to avoid, anything that reminds you of the event. This could include places, people, sounds or smells. This is a perfectly normal reaction.
What Can I Do?
Feeling keyed up or anxious
Try some deep breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose (count slowly to 5) and fill your lungs down to your stomach. Exhale slowly through your mouth (count slowly to 5). Do this 5 times and as often as you need. If you have a smartphone, download the free app “Calm”.
Go to bed at the same time each night. Try not to nap after 4:00 pm. Do not drink caffeinated beverages in the evening.
Using alcohol/drugs to sleep
Alcohol will not help you sleep better; passing out is not sleeping. Alcohol will interfere with the natural sleep process.
Encountering reminders of the event
People, places, sounds or smells may trigger reminders of the traumatic event. Watching news coverage may trigger thoughts or emotions related to the event. Public commemorative events may provide comfort or they could increase distress. Do not feel forced to attend memorial events. Honor the memory of the people you lost in the way that works best for you.
If you feel distress, reach out for help. 24/7 services available by calling (407) 500-HOPE
Other mental health resources include:
ASPIRE Health Partners 407-245-0045
Hispanic Family Counseling 407-382-9079
Two Spirit Health Services 407-963-5664
UCF Restores 407-823-3910
Park Place Behavioral Health Care 407-846-0023