It's been a tough time for Malaysia these past months. Even as I type these words, news of a worsening situation is happening right now in Sarawak with flood waters starting to rise.
It is going to take us all some time, as individuals and as a nation to come back stronger after being hit down time and time again. But even as we take the time to pick up the physical pieces left strewn across our homes and lives, remember that tragedies such as these can also leave many emotional and psychological debris as well.
Our Director and Clinical Psychologist recently conducted an interview with The Star, highlighting the possible detriments that an individual can experience as a result of natural disasters.
In such emotionally trying times, it can be helpful for you to take some time off from the hustle and bustle of things, and reflect on what has happened. Loss and grief can be fairly stealthy at times, and its not uncommon that it hits only after some time has passed. Give ourselves the necessary time to process and come to term with our loss. And remember, each one of us experiences grief differently.
Here are some tips for yourself and for your loved ones to help you get through a difficult time. Give these steps a try and see if they help give you a boost.
Getting SupportGrief and loss are never easy things to deal with. Given enough time, most of us would be able to put our pasts behind us and move on. For some of us however, time does not heal all wounds. Grief can be all-consuming and if left unchecked, may lead us down a very dark and lonely path. If you think that you're having a hard time dealing with your grief and loss, do make sure that you reach out for help, either through your loved ones, or mental health professionals.
Having proper social and familial support is extremely important when coping with grief and loss. Our minds are wonderful things which allows us to dream up fantastic ideas. However, it is a double-edged sword. That same capacity to imagine can also make us susceptible to catastrophizing or constantly imagining the worst-case scenarios. Having good social support from friends and family can help reduce our mind's natural tendency to wander. Having someone to talk to helps us declutter our minds, making our thoughts real through speech. Having a sounding board in our loved ones would help us separate fact from fiction, helping us better cope with the loss that we experienced.
Seeking Comfort in Your Faith
In such difficult times, the sense of hopelessness can be very overwhelming. How does one plan for or cope with the worst floods in our nation's history? How does one prepare for three national aviation accidents in a span of a year? You don't. Turning to our faith can help us manage. By surrendering ourselves to a higher power, we give ourselves the permission to stop asking "why me?" and start accepting what has happened. Faith gives us the strength to move on, and the belief that whatever has happened, happens for a reason.
Taking Care of Yourself
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, our attention is focused on addressing our physical needs. We tend to our hurt bodies, our damaged homes, our loved ones in pain and our neighbours who are suffering. But remember that you need looking after as well, both physically and mentally. We can get so caught up sometimes that our physical health may deteriorate, so remember to eat as well as you can, and take time off to rest and recharge. Mentally, take time off for yourself too. Give yourself the time you need for that good cry, or perhaps treating yourself to something nice for a change. Just remember that its harder to take care of everyone and everything around you, if you don't take care of yourself.
We're here to help you pick up the pieces.