Sunday, October 07, 2001

Attacks causing stress among locals

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Nightmares. Crying jags. Fears that the Carew Tower will tumble.

        While hundreds of miles separate Cincinnati and New York, local counselors said the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center has caused Cincinnati to battle its own bout of po
    • Talk about it.
    • Get plenty of rest and exercise.
    • Eat well.
    • Spend time with your family.
    • As soon as it feels comfortable, return to your normal routine.
    • Do relaxing, soothing things.
    • Recall other events that wrought strong emotions and how they were resolved.
    • Do something positive to gain control.
    • Ask for help.
   Source: National Mental Health Association
st-traumatic shock.

        Seeing film clips of jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center, plumes of smoke billowing into the sky and the skyscrapers crumbling has wrought much of the emotional damage.

        “If it could happen there, it could happen here. It could happen anywhere. If you lose your sense of control, that's very frightening. Right now, it feels so scary, and it's OK to admit it,” said Ellen Bloomfield, a clinical social worker who volunteers for Mental Health Association of the Cincinnati area.

        Cincinnatians should recognize their symptoms and seek help, counselors said. What people basically need is to talk through their fears and have someone listen to them, they said.

        Ms. Bloomfield recently led a counseling session for Anthem Insurance Cos. employees. A handful attended, but each was trying to cope with the Sept. 11 aftermath.

        One woman reported nightmares. Another said she had lost her sense of humor. Another said her son was injured in a dirt bike accident but was afraid to get hospital treatment. He feared the building would come under a terrorist attack.

        Counselors concede that anxieties could continue as the nation prepares for war, terrorist attacks and possible biochemical attacks.

        While post-traumatic shock syndrome has been associated with Vietnam veterans and victims of rape or child abuse, anyone who has experienced intense feelings of fear, horror and helplessness or faced grave physical harm is susceptible.

        Sept. 11 “might be the straw that broke the camel's back for some folks,” said Chris Tuell, director of Family Service of Cincinnati Area. “If (people) didn't feel depressed or upset by it, then they wouldn't really be a person. We let people know that it's a normal response.”

        People who recognize that the nation's turmoil is causing their depression shouldn't avoid newscasts or cancel travel plans. Instead, they should return to their daily routines.


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