Sources of Stress, Sources of Healing

MADISON, Wis. -- Life can be hard. Real fear and stress can rip us. Nobody responds exactly the same to disaster or times of major loss (real or threatened) but here is a list of the more typical feelings and reactions people have:

* Shock/denial
* Anger
* Guilt
* Sadness
* Overwhelmed
* Disoriented/confused
* Indecisive
* Can't concentrate
* Poor memory
* Tiredness
* Teeth grinding
* Nervous
* Nightmares
* Trouble sleeping
* Hyper-vigilance
* Withdraw and isolate from others
* Feasting or fasting to extreme
* Diarrhea/Constipation
* Headache
* Paranoid
* Self-medicate with drugs and alcohol
* Irritable
* Sight/sound/smell triggered haunting memories

Can you relate? I sure can. Shortly after 9/11, at the Pentagon crash site, I had the privilege as a USAFR Chaplain to dress up in one of those white suits you saw on TV to minister to other white-suited workers sifting through the wreckage. I'll never forget the cheers and applause of the shift change. I kid you not; as the dazed and weary rescue workers walked off, they appeared to me to be walking in slow-motion video. Later on, it was helpful for me to learn about the Tache-psyche effect as the brain's slow motion recording allowing for greater reaction time. It's a survival mechanism and purely stress induced. With this greater knowledge of how my brain responds to trauma, I had a greater acceptance of this event because it seemed less surreal.

Have you been dealing with any of the above? There is real help available, humanly and divinely speaking. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear," wrote King David in Psalm 23. His reason: "For Thou art with me." What's your reason not to fear? Need one? Make a start; come see me.
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