World Trauma Day is observed on October, 17th every year as a reminder of the importance of saving and protecting lives during emergencies. This day also highlights the increasing rate of accidents and injuries causing death and disability across the world and educates people on avoiding these traumatic events.
What Is Trauma?
In the medical world, trauma means any physical injury caused on the body. The injury may be caused due to many reasons including road accidents, domestic violence, natural disasters like fires, burns, falls, and crimes against the vulnerable population including women, children and elderly. However, a person can also experience trauma as a response to any event they find emotionally or physically threatening or painful. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma can also be termed as ‘an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, natural disaster or a loss of a loved one.’
Amongst all the causes, Road Traffic Accident (RTA) is the primary cause of trauma across the world. Every year, about 6 million people die from injuries across the world. In India alone, it is estimated that one million people die and 20 million are hospitalized every year due to injuries. As per the horrifying statistics, traumatic events due to rape or domestic violence have been increasing at an alarming rate.
How Death Due To COVID-19 Is Affecting People?
Well this year, although due to the stringent lockdown owing to the novel coronavirus in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of the year, road accidents might have been averted, yet there have been about a hundred thousand deaths due to this highly infectious COVID-19.
If the demise of celebrities like Irfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and many more famous people hit people so hard this year, we could only imagine how much worse it would be to lose someone during this terrible year. The passing of a loved one is never easy to bear, even in normal circumstances. And amidst the coronavirus pandemic, with physical, emotional and financial distress, feelings of grief and sadness have been amplified to another level.
Additionally, once someone in your family is diagnosed positive with COVID, he or she is totally isolated or taken away from the family members. And to avoid spreading the infection, you are not allowed to meet your family. In case, you lose your loved one to COVID, you are not even allowed to meet him or her one last time or perform the last rituals to honor the person’s life in order to reduce the spread of the virus. This can make it extremely difficult to adapt to the reality of life without that person’s presence.
Sometimes, losing a loved one can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This includes symptoms such as getting flashes of the incidents about the deceased while sick, overwhelming guilt, feeling emotionally numb, insomnia, difficulty in concentrating, heightened level of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, panicking, excessive smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, having suicidal thoughts, and feeling detached from family and friends.
Every one of us grieve in our own way, there is no right or wrong in that. Recognizing the grief is the basic step in accepting the finality of loss, understanding what it means to you and adapting to a new normal. We share some tips for those suffering the sudden loss of a loved one and coping with grief to ultimately overcome this traumatic experience.
Ways To Cope With The Traumatic Experience Of Losing A Loved One
Overcome The Guilt
It’s true that survivor's guilt is quite real and painful. But you need to accept the fact that you tried your best and did everything to help your loved one.
Share Your Feelings With Your Trusted Ones
It is extremely necessary to talk to your friends and family about your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. Refrain from staying alone if you are dealing with the loss of a loved one. It is necessary to stay with someone who cares about you so that you can talk and share your feelings. The more you resist talking about your feelings, the more it will trouble you and prevent you from moving forward. It is totally okay to grieve in front of a trusted friend or family as it helps you heal faster.
Maintain A Schedule
We know, it is difficult to maintain a routine when you are grieving. You need to accept the hard truth that, life goes on and waits for none. Apart from having a fixed schedule, try maintaining a well-balanced diet and carrying out some exercises. A proper nutrition helps the body to recover from the stress faster. So, try getting back to your daily routine as it will not only help you feel distracted and facilitate healing faster but the sense of accomplishing something will boost your mood and help you feel better.
Indulge In A New Hobby
Adopting a new hobby or something creative is a great way to distract yourself from the grief. Addressing and expressing your feelings through crafts, music, cooking, painting or gardening may prove to be extremely therapeutic and helps you boost your mood.
Refrain From Over Media Indulgence
Although, it’s okay to be aware of the current situation, when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, too much news about the pandemic can be overwhelming. So, take breaks from watching news, reading newspapers or following updates on the social media platforms.Even after months of the traumatic experience of losing a loved one, if you still experience symptoms of PTSD, do seek help from a mental health professional, like a psychiatrist, therapist, or a spiritual guide to help you cope with the traumatic experience.