Lately, we are being traumatized every evening as we watch the media blaring the violence and upheaval in Egypt. Our hearts go out to the Egyptian people and we pray for a resolve that brings peace and healing. They are suffering primary trauma. We are being vicariously traumatized every time we see the protests and violence. My heart broke and tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the dead and injured being carried away. My hair stood on end when I watched Anderson Cooper being attacked on TV. I felt my body enter into a stress response as my heart raced and my breathing became labored. I had trouble falling asleep later on as the images I saw earlier continued to flash in my mind.
Second Hand Shock is an epidemic that is taking its toll on our population without any notice or acknowledgment. People are suffering the effects of it and attribute it to other things. Chronic infections, compromised immunity, inflammations, sleep disturbance, depression, headaches, diabetes, obesity, even cancer can all be the result of the overproduction of cortisol. Cortisol is the by-product of the chemical cascade that drives the flight, flight or freeze stress response. This chemical cascade ratchets up and down several times a day for our professional helpers and perhaps even for lay people
who sit and repetitively watch horrific events in the media.
We must do our part to stop our degeneration into a trauma culture. We must look to protect our health and well-being by staying conscious of and limiting our exposure to Second-Hand Shock.