Written By Nour El Ali, Psychologist at The Valens Clinic, Dubai.
In recent times, global events unfolding before our eyes have unleashed a wave of overwhelming emotions, rendering many individuals feeling helpless, anxious, depleted, angry, irritable, numb, or filled with a great amount of sorrow. The gruesome images and videos circulating on our screens has left an unforgettable mark on the collective psyche. Consequently, individuals find themselves grappling with an inability to sleep or an insatiable urge to escape the harsh reality by immersing themselves in sleep. Many are struggling to focus on their work and are preoccupied with the atrocities they are witnessing. This situation stands as an unprecedented and unique form of trauma, altering the very foundation of what is considered a ‘safe space in the therapy room’ as well as threatening the concept of a ‘safe world.’
In fact, this relentless exposure to distressing news and the horrors unfolding on the ground meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that can have a profound impact on mental health. The purpose of this article is to offer a reassuring reminder to those who find themselves grappling with these overwhelming emotions – what you are experiencing is a perfectly normal yet uncomfortable, response to the distressing events you are witnessing. The key lies in understanding that our reactions to these discomforting feelings hold the power to shape our emotional well-being.
For instance, when we label these feelings as ‘unwanted,’ it often sets the stage for internal conflict, exacerbating distress. This can lead to a snowball effect, making it increasingly difficult to manage the emotional turmoil that accompanies such traumatic events. Instead of seeing these emotions as ‘unwanted,’ it is crucial to recognize that they are a natural response to an unnatural and distressing situation. In this perspective, we can navigate these emotions with greater self-compassion and resilience.
In the face of such profound adversity, it is essential to acknowledge the toll it takes on our mental health and our overall well-being. By accepting these emotions as a valid response to the challenging circumstances, we can build on our humanity and find healthier ways to cope with the overwhelming feelings that inevitably arise.
It is important to surround yourself with supportive individuals during this time. Connect with friends or support groups who share your similar beliefs and feelings. If you struggle with accepting the uncomfortable feelings do not hesitate to reach out to a psychologist who can give space to your feelings and help you finding meaning during these distressing times.