incredible-marketing Arrow

You weren’t there. You didn’t see it. You didn’t feel it. You shouldn’t be affected by it, but you are. It feels as if you were there because you’ve seen so many videos and read so many first hand accounts. It feels as though you saw it because every time you log onto social media, turn on the news, or browse the internet, the videos, the facts, and the images are there. It feels as though you can feel every single person’s pain as you empathically put yourself in their shoes, trying to imagine what they were thinking, what they were feeling, and what they were going through in that moment. You are affected by it, whatever it is, because third-party trauma is real. You weren’t there. You didn’t see it. You didn’t feel it- that doesn’t matter.

When tragedy strikes, the entire world becomes consumed by the details. Seemingly, there is an update every hour which necessitates the total retelling of a traumatic event, the details up until that moment, and the new details. In the background of a news anchor’s narrative, or in-between the paragraphs of a journalist’s story, there are videos and images portraying the horror over and over again. For days on end, there is no escaping the traumatizing event. The sights and sounds, the details and breaking information, are all consistently traumatizing and retraumatizing.

Third-party trauma can also be called “vicarious trauma” or “compassion fatigue”. Though sometimes reserved for those who work directly with the direct victims of a traumatic tragedy, the symptoms and effects can happen to the average viewer at home. Popular Science cites the American Counseling Association, writing that “Symptoms of vicarious trauma may include an inability to discuss personal feelings, general irritability, and a lack of enthusiasm for once enjoyable situations…”

Across the board, professionals advocate self-care is as the ultimate antidote to vicarious trauma. The first step is to limit your intake of news, no matter the sense of urgency to learn more. If you feel that your symptoms of trauma grow beyond your ability to nurture yourself back to normal, it is possible this vicarious trauma has triggered unresolved traumas of your own. Call The Guest House Ocala to discuss the symptoms of trauma you are having and a plan for treatment to heal from your own experiences of trauma. Our private residential treatment programs offer a wide variety of healing for mind, body, and spirit. 1-855-483-7800