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Oil Spill Emotions

What is the emotional impact of the oil spill?  Where do those emotions go and how do people cope?  For starters, people are enraged, fearful, anxious, depressed, and angry about the spill, which is normal.  Others have expressed feelings of helplessness and powerlessness with no sense of control, resolution, or closure in sight.  This disaster has devastated many and its consequences are just beginning to surface.  The four traits associated with trauma are: unexpected, overwhelming, unable to cope, and unavoidable.  The loss of control, vulnerability, and unpredictability shake people’s worlds.  It is common to be numb, experience physical and emotional reactions, and describe the experience as surreal.  The bottom line is that there is no standard pattern of reaction and everyone deals with trauma differently.  How are you dealing with it?  Some suggestions for coping are: talk or write about what you’re feeling, take a break from the news (limit exposure), maintain healthy behaviors/schedules, exercise, and consider a support group.  Focus on what you have control over and let go of the things that are out of your control.  Empower yourself by developing a game plan and taking some action.  Sitting idle and dwelling on the situation will only exacerbate your negative emotions.  When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.

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