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When we hear Critical Incident Stress Management we often think of Emergency Personnel and the trauma that they experience. Even if you are not an emergency worker you can still experience a Critical Incident.
A Critical Incident may be defined as a traumatic event that affects a person’s ability to cope with normal life. For example, with emergency personnel they deal with death, injury, or dying in a very gruesome way and then they may have some signs and symptoms like the inability to sleep, the inability to remove the gruesome image from their mind, or they may experience depression, anger, or withdrawal. These events would most likely obstruct a person’s ability to function in every day life. Everyone reacts differently so a Critical Incident is most likely to be defined by the person’s reaction.
Some Critical Incidents that may occur for individuals that are not emergency personnel are witnessing a robbery gone bad, violence in the work place, someone dying in the workplace, or a traumatic event in the workplace. Some critical incidents may also occur outside the place of work for example, a witnessed accident that causes death, dismemberment, or shocking images, witnessing a violent act, or watching someone die or be murdered.
If you have experienced a traumatic event and you are having a difficult time dealing with it you may be suffering from a Critical Incident If you are experiencing a Critical Incident it is very important that you seek help. Some places to go would be an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a church leader, or information sources similar to the phone book and the Internet, under Critical Incident Stress Management. When we experience a Critical Incident it is crucial that we seek someone that is trained in responding to a Critical Incident because it is not therapy, it is an educational process that assists us in overcoming any signs and symptoms we may be experiencing. Therefore, when we seek help it is very wise to seek someone trained in Critical Incident Stress Management.
After you seek help, know that whatever negative signs or symptoms you are experiencing are probably very normal. The critical incident or trauma that you experienced is quite possibly not normal for a person to observe and therefore you may be affected.
In addition to seeking help we can take an active roll in taking care of ourselves for instance, eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Also, be conscious of not increasing any addiction to caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs. And finally, talk to someone close to you. It won’t be necessary to share the gory details, basically don’t keep it inside because it may eat you up.
Caution, if you do not seek help your signs and symptoms may linger longer than necessary and your ability to function in every day life may be drastically affected. When signs and symptoms remain they may eventually become who you are and if you can’t take care of yourself then you cannot take care of anyone else.