Living in Turkey is like being in an action movie for which you may say “it can’t be true, this is so exaggerated”. The earthquake, terror attacks, losses of lives in the traffic every day, tragicomic news… Turkey is full of surprises! And the interesting is we don’t know that another life may be possible. We come to the world within this system, and often complete our life by chance in this system. The matters which the people would discuss for days and strive for months, even years to restore the traumas if they would happen in another part of the world are too familiar for us. Our lives are full of traumas which we forget soon, we are familiar with somehow, we are inured to and do not feel strange about.
What would happen if each event we experience occurred in different countries, at very different times?
The indications emerging initially in short term following intensively stressful events are associated with anxiety. The anxiety reactions beginning within the first four weeks particularly immediately after a stress event and lasting for a period of 2 days to 28 days are diagnosed as “Acute Stress Disorder”.
However, everybody’s manner of reacting to and overcoming stress and its period varies. You might have come across such people who go into action at the instance of stressful events and turn their anxiety into an efficient effort to overcome that situation. You would surprise how they could overcome. You suppose they do not get harmed at all. But it is not a rarely seen condition that anxiety reactions begin to emerge in the same person when all effects of the event come to end and the life returns to the previous order, and several months elapsed as of the events.
What do I mean with anxiety reactions?
We gather them under 3 headings:
1. The person has flashbacks repeatedly within the day: scenes being repeated with the images appearing to his eyes, the sounds he hears, or the dreams. You may find yourself in a daydream, as if within the same traumatic moment. Your heartbeats may accelerate, you may get out of breath, you may sweat.
2. You may not want to go the places where the event occurred, see the people who may remind you of it, be in the same place with any stimulants that may evoke it.
3. Your automatic reactions within the day start to change. For instance, you may be excessively startled when the door is knocked; you may not be able to control your anger in case of an annoying event. You may begin to cry with no reason. Your sleep may be interrupted frequently at night.
If all these reactions emerge when 1 month or more time elapses as of the traumatic event and last for more than 4 weeks, we call this “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”.
Furthermore, we may have not suffered a very traumatic event personally. But sharing the pains of the people around us, hearing, watching and seeing the same stories again and again can also lead to emergence of such reactions. Then we call this “Secondary Trauma”.
So what happens following the events suffered in Turkey?
We are used to the stress we experience after terrible news, disasters and attacks. Surely we exhibit the natural stress reactions. What we write and speak today after Van earthquake is just like the news following August 17th or November 12th copied and pasted. It is difficult to tell the difference between October 29th, 2007 and October 29th, 2011. But we can get organized and take action faster. Because we are used to.
And then, we forget sooner each time. What protects us mostly is this skill of forgetting soon, which facilitates our life within the unchanging order. Otherwise, we should have had STRESS DISORDER as a whole society with so many traumas, so much pain, suffered one after the other.