Our hearts break for the people in Japan who are experiencing PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, exponentially intensified by a nuclear crisis which followed the devastating tsunami. These people will need lots of compassion and care as they slowly piece back together their lives.
Let’s also send loving and supportive energy to all the helpers who are assisting the victims of the tsunami. They may be experiencing their own Second-Hand Shock as they work to provide relief while controlling their empathic responses. These helpers absorb trauma as they lend a caring ear and a kind heart to the victims.
Those of us who watch from afar secondarily suffer our own form of trauma. The era of instant and repetitive information bombards us with the horror over and over again; if we choose to open ourselves to this type of brain-altering experience. Watching that continual, looping footage creates a recurrent chemical cascade in the viewer’s brain that actually has an addictive quality to it. We become at risk to become entrenched in watching the destruction as an habitual activity.
Unfortunately, this type of addictive pattern actually desensitizes us to the plight of the Japanese people. It is important that we find a way to participate in some form of the remedy and not continue to focus most of our attention to the disaster, itself. There are many ways to focus remedial attention to the event; including, but not limited to prayer, healing meditation and charitable acts.
Most of all, let us remember that whatever happens to other people can also happen to us. As our sense of being part of a global community expands, we can more easily relate to one culture’s tragedy as a universal experience. It is with humility and hope that we extend our empathy to the Japanese people.