After a large shocking event, there is a lull where people reflect and ultimately get on with life. The events on Saturday night in London were horrific and people have responded with fear and anger, which is understandable but what effect does it have on the mental health of the nation?
It’s something I ponder after such events, around the time when there is the lull, the news trickles on the aftermath, life carries on for the nation. There are always a few who carry it on for longer, either wallowing in the misery of it all or angry / frightened, so resort to shouting, calling for extreme measures that are usually violent and / or brutal in their nature.
I wonder about those very people, not in what they say but their apparent reluctance to move on, remaining angry and belligerent, continuing to rant about the dangers they perceive no-one else is doing anything about. Then there are the others who love the emotion of it all, crying at the injustice, being swept away in a tide of mourning.
While I accept that this is part of the human condition, I do wonder if the people venting is more healthy or damaging than the people who get on with their daily lives. It’s a character in people that drives our responses and that character trait, that emotion which could be either building stress which some are unable to let go or bottling it up, not dealing with the stress which in turn could be harming to the individual.
In times when angry or scared, adrenaline is released. We are either fight or flight in that mode, ready for the threat to present itself fully in order that we can decide for ourselves – run or take it on. In modern life, that primordial trigger can definitely be harming, as we can’t run away from the threat nor fight it, as it’s abstract. Like the War on Terror or War on Drugs, they are abstract constructs in which we are unable to call out our foes for a face to face nor run away, so when faced with an act such as this, the adrenaline coursing through the body just keeps us tense and stressed, which in turn has a negative effect psychologically.
This can’t be healthy and must have a negative effect on the mental health of those unable to deal with the threat rationally. While it is shocking and significant in nature, the risk of getting caught up in a terror attack is less than having a car accident or being killed mowing your lawn. While we feel something must be done, we are in the hands of others to protect the public, so largely feel helpless in our defence.
My advice, and take it from someone who knows only too well the effects of adrenaline burnout, is to find someway to become calm and de-stress. Go for a walk, read a good book, whatever does it for you. But do it and don’t let the stress control or harm you.
Be kind to yourself, always.