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Tips for Coping

These are some ideas that may help you cope with the trauma or loss:

  • Find someone to talk with about how your feel and what you are going through.  Keep the phone number of a good friend nearby to call when you feel overwhelmed or feel panicked.
  • Allow yourself to feel the pain.  It will not last forever.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Spend time with others, but make time to spend alone also.
  • Take care of your mind and body.  Rest, sleep, and eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible, but don't over-do.
  • Make daily decisions, which will help bring back a feeling of control over your life.
  • Exercise, though not excessively and alternate with periods of relaxation.
  • Undertake daily tasks with care.  Accidents are more likely to happen after severe stress.
  • Recall the things that helped you cope during trying times and loss in the past and think about the things that give you hope.  Turn to them on bad days.

Things to Avoid:

  • Be careful about using alcohol or drugs to relieve emotional pain.  Becoming addicted not only postpones healing, but also creates new problems.
  • Make daily decisions, but avoid making life changing decisions in the immediate aftermath, since judgment may be temporarily impaired.
  • Don’t blame yourself----it is NOT your fault.
  • Your emotions need to be expressed. Try not to bottle them up.

For some victims and families of victims, life is forever changed.  Life may feel empty and hollow.  Life doesn’t “mean” what it used to.  Part of coping and adjusting is redefining the future.  What seemed important before may not be important now.  Many victims find new meaning in their lives as a result of their experience.  It is important to remember that emotional pain is not endless and that it will eventually ease.  It is impossible to undo what happened but life can be good again in time. 

For family and friends of a victim of crime:

  • Listen carefully.
  • Spend time with the victim.
  • Offer your assistance, even if they haven't asked for help.
  • Help with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, minding the children.
  • Don't take their anger or other feelings personally.
  • Don't tell them they are "luck it wasn't worse"---traumatized people are not consoled by such statements.
  • Tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred to them and you want to understand to help them.