If you’re feeling nervous or stressed, you are not alone.
On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, many of us are experiencing what psychological experts call “anniversary anxiety.” Across the United States and around the world, people are remembering the falling Towers, families desperately searching for their loved ones, courageous first responders digging through the rubble, and the immediate sense of our lives changing forever – all accompanied by renewed fears of the possibility of future attacks. Countless individuals are still having a hard time coping with the catastrophe and according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a Garden City, New York-based therapist and grief counselor, “People have been affected for much longer than we thought possible.”
Many are suffering from prolonged grief disorder, which causes depression, intense grief, and inability to return to their daily lives within six months of a tragedy. Others who were physically there, or emotionally connected through loss, have a higher chance of suffering from anxiety and depression than the average American. Many who watched the horrors on TV from thousands of miles away are experiencing a form of trauma they haven’t been able to shake.
Roxanne Cohen Silver, PhD, a researcher at the University of California believes most Americans have bounced back from the calamity through acceptance and coping with their fears and anxieties. According to Silver, as 9/11 approaches, peoples’ emotions are triggered by heavy media coverage. If you’re having a hard time coping with painful memories of 9/11, these tips from EverydayHealth may help you get through this year’s anniversary.
Change the channel, click on a different story, or turn the page of your newspaper. You don’t want to immerse yourself in all the remembrances or images that will be featured .
Turn the tragedy into something positive by volunteering your time to help others in your community.
What have you learned over the years from this horrific experience? How have you grown as a person? Whether it was becoming closer to family or upholding a resolution to improve your life, as hard as it may be, focus on any good that has come from that event.
Don’t be alarmed
No one grieves the same and it is okay to feel more anxious and depressed than other people you know. While they may be coping, you shouldn’t be troubled that you haven’t been able to find your peace. It was a terrible tragedy that most people are still struggling to deal with.
Reach out for help
If your heightened emotions don’t settle down soon after the 9/11 anniversary, try talking about your feelings with a family member or trusted friend. If that doesn’t provide relief, seek professional help from a licensed therapist or member of the clergy who is trained in grief counseling.
There is no shame in what you’re feeling, but ignoring signs of prolonged grief disorder will only add to your suffering.
We are all in this together.