Over the past few months, Israel has been going through a hard time. First, we had a year of the COVID-19 pandemic where movement restrictions were imposed to help control the disease spreading. Then we had the Meron tragedy in which 45 people were trampled to death while visiting Haar Meron on Lag B’Omer. Lastly, the tension with Gaza has developed into a conflict where thousands of missiles have been targeted at Israel—leaving the people to fear for their lives and seek safety in bomb shelters. Overall, this has not been an easy year for Israel.
Many people have been experiencing PTSD or post-traumatic stress over the last few weeks. However, we need to differentiate between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress.
Post-Traumatic Stress is stress that is triggered after a person experiences a traumatic or abnormal event. Traumatic events include rape, sexual assault, car accidents, warfare, death, and natural disasters. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder develops if someone does not seek help for their post-traumatic stress. People with PTSD have a heightened sense of danger and anxiety even in a safe situation.
Is Post-Traumatic Stress normal?
Most people don’t realize that experiencing post-traumatic stress after an abnormal event is normal. It is only human to have stress after experiencing a car accident, after a loved one dies, or experiencing war. People who have not developed high-level coping skills to manage traumatic situations are at risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if left untreated.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress often occur right after the event, while PTSD symptoms can occur many months after the event.
In some severe situations, suicidal thoughts can be felt by the individual who experienced the traumatic event. For all instances where suicidal thoughts are expressed, immediate help is needed. This can be achieved by going to an emergency department or calling a suicide hotline.
How can I help someone who is experiencing post-traumatic stress?
Remind them to breathe – sometimes, when people have panic attacks after experiencing a traumatic event. Reminding them to breathe can help to calm them down. It might take them some time until they can breathe normally, but it is essential to keep reminding them. This can be achieved by taking deep breaths in, followed by a long exhale.
Remind them that this is normal – many people don’t realize that experiencing stress after a traumatic event is 100% normal. Even people who are never stressed can experience symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress when something distressing occurs. Therefore, it is important to remind them that their reaction is normal and that they will be okay.
Listen to them – the most straightforward form of therapy is having someone to talk to. Talking about the experience helps them normalize the occurrence, and it can also help those who are suffering from feeling better. It is important not to pressure them to talk about it if they don’t want to, but if they want to share their experience, do your best to listen. It is also important not to advise about the situation unless they ask for it – be there for them!
Encourage them to get help – There are so many ways for people who have PTSD to get assistance. Many support groups help people cope with their stress and help them recover. Mental health professionals can facilitate open dialogue with someone experiencing PTSD, leading to recovery from the traumatic event.
As previously mentioned, post-traumatic stress is a normal reaction to a traumatic event, and post-traumatic stress disorder occurs if someone does get help to manage the stress associated with the experience. PTSD can be long-term and hard to cope with; therefore, we encourage people who are experiencing post-traumatic stress not to wait for it to “go away on its own” but to seek help from their family, friends, and professionals.
Thank you for the zoom (and all your updates). It was great. I wish the news was like that. Straight forward, factual, unemotional. Bravo to both of you ladies!!
My experience with Ema Care has been so positive that I wanted to share it in case it could help someone else. Eight days ago my daughter, a Shanah Bet student, called to say she wasn’t feeling well and had symptoms of Covid-19. I was put in touch with an Infectious Disease specialist who recommended Ema Care. I reached Dr. Eliana Aaron easily and signed my daughter up. The next morning, Ema Care gave my daughter a telehealth exam and provided her with prescriptions, as well as a list of...
I would like to also add my compliments, you exceeded my already very high expectations. You can certainly send other schools our way for a recommendation.
-Mr. E. Naiman
Dear Dr. Eliana words simply cannot express how much you have done for all of us and so many others in keeping us informed, calming anxieties, and being such a wonderful and patient resource through such a difficult time. Wishing you much bracha and hatzlacha in the merit of all the countless mitzvot u have done to help so many through these trying times; mikol halev, ein milim and thanks so so much .
Gap Year Program Staff
Hello Dr. Aaron. I cannot thank you enough for providing not only crucial information but a framework that gave us stability and allowed us to function (instead of descending into chaos, which undoubtedly would have happened, if not for you). At the risk of waxing dramatic, I will tell you that when I think of what you've done these past couple of months, what comes to mind is Rav Yohanan Ben Zakai asking Vespasian to give him Yavneh ve-Hakhameha, thus saving the entire enterprise of Talmud...