Are you dealing with Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)?

Are you dealing with Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)?

Diablo winds, utility shut offs, and the glowing flames that are too close for comfort have taken their emotional toll. I have worked with folks who are still dealing with the impact of the 2017 Tubbs fire and are now re-triggered by evacuation orders under smoke filled skies. Many of us may be experiencing Acute Stress Disorder or ASD, which is an experience of psychological distress immediately following a traumatic event. Unlike PTSD, ASD is a temporary condition. Symptoms typically persist for 3 to 30 days after the traumatic event. Victims may experience feelings of:

 impending doom

 excessive worrying

 difficulty concentrating

 fatigue

 restlessness

 racing thoughts

If symptoms persist beyond 30 days, this may indicate Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). PTSD is often associated with war veterans as well as survivors of violence. However, PTSD like symptoms can affect anyone overwhelmed by stressful events. It is normal to react, and our reactions can run the gamut from shutting down to feelings of dissociation and perhaps feeling emotionally numb to outward expressions of tension and agitation. We are all different. Some of us want to stay up to date by watching news reports and engaging with others while some may want to limit exposure to media. What is important is that you find your unique self-care plan and remember that this too shall pass. The good news is that creating a daily ritual of self-care by practicing ways to find calm in the moment, connect with gratitude, and implement practical steps to be prepared will do what???. Listed below are a few recommendations for practicing radical self-care:

Ø Don’t isolate – reach out to friends, family, your social network or spiritual community. Eat as healthy and as nutritious as possible – I know I’m not the only one who lost perishable items during the power outage. I can only image the impact on couples or families. Keep fruit, nuts and stock up on non-perishable items. It may be wise to have charcoal or propane on hand in case your kitchen is inaccessible. Over the weekend, I watched my friend prepare a pot of greens (outdoors) using a camp stove!

Ø Don’t forget to keep bottled water on hand. Avoid wall to wall news coverage – As much as we want to stay informed, there is no benefit to exposing oneself to constant sensational reporting. Once you have identified what is needed to make real time decisions, take a break from 24/7 news and social media feeds that may not be all that helpful. Instead, take some deep breaths and remind yourself of all you to have control over in the moment. Helping Others – One of the most distressing aspects of this event is the feeling of powerlessness. One way to counter feelings of helplessness is to take action. Volunteer at one of the evacuation centers. If you have power in your home, invite friends and/or neighbors over to charge their devices. Donate to trusted organizations. Not only does taking action help you to feel empowered, it is also an excellent way to decrease isolation in times of stress. Seek Professional Support- If feelings of distress indicated above persist beyond the first month after the event and are interfering with your ability to fully engage in life, seek support. There are many professional therapy resources, social support groups, and community agencies to help

Please know that we are here as a resource and We will get through this!

Speak Your Mind

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1030 2nd St Suite B
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

gayle.whitlock@newleafcounselingservices.org
(707) 387-4146

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