Witnessing a crime or a similar traumatic incident is one that can leave an indelible mark on your psyche. Many of those who witness these types of events may not know what to do afterward or how they can begin working toward recovery. Fortunately, you’re never alone in your journey, and there’s guidance out there to help you work through every step of the process. If you recently dealt with the above, here are a few tips on coping after you witness a crime or traumatic incident.
Reach out to the proper authorities and remove any of the triggers.
If you’ve witnessed a crime, reaching out to the police and providing them with your statement can help them take the necessary next steps to arrest and serve justice to the person responsible for it. What few may think about, however, is the aftermath of a crime or a traumatic incident. In crimes where violence was perpetrated or incidents left someone injured or deceased, there may be physical evidence still left in your home. If your home isn’t an active crime scene, reach out to a blood cleanup company that specializes in biohazard remediation to take care of these messes safely and successfully. They will walk you through each step of the process with compassion and ensure that there’s nothing left behind that’s detrimental to your physical or mental health.
Seek out the support of a mental health professional immediately.
No matter the circumstances, witnessing violence and dealing with loss is a severe form of trauma. This trauma can then trigger a mental illness like depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Take care to evaluate your behavior and thoughts shortly after the trauma to establish whether or not you deal with symptoms of PTSD like intrusive dreams and flashbacks, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from social situations, and irritable behavior, or being easily frightened. Awareness is one of the first steps n dealing with your trauma.
Whether you’re dealing with a severe response or simply can’t move past the trauma and need support, individual therapy can help you tremendously. Psychotherapy will help you receive support as you discuss your trauma with your psychiatrist, tap into therapeutic tools like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication, and help you work towards a sense of normalcy in your life. Now, you can even get effective treatment online if you’re unable to book the first appointment with a counselor near you. While some may be hesitant to pursue therapy sessions, talk therapy is crucial for those who experience trauma.
Look for exercises that can help you get through the day.
If you witnessed a crime or almost became the victim of a crime, your peace of mind may be greatly impacted. Returning to life can be difficult as you may feel more easily startled or like something is going to happen again in your home. If you’re struggling in your day-to-day life, look for exercises for anxiety that can help you calm down your nervous system. Exercises like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and visualization can be a good fit for those who are experiencing difficulty overcoming their mental health condition and feeling safe or secure.
Trauma impacts everyone in different ways. Some people already have the resilience and coping mechanisms to move through the trauma and return to their normal lives quickly. Others are completely debilitated from things they have witnessed and may develop mental health disorders as a result. Regardless of where you lie on this spectrum, the advice above can help you build a support system and find the resources needed to work through traumatic incidents.