Saturday, July 13, 2024

Shoulder To Shoulder



Ozlem TUNA

This is the most difficult article I have written for my beloved newspaper. Our heavenly homeland, Turkey, and our neighboring country, Syria, have experienced an incredible disaster with many casualties. First of all, please accept my condolences. It is impossible for me to express our sadness in lines, besides, my pen trembles with my heart. Natural disasters are a fact of life unfortunately. It happens in Turkey as well as everywhere else in the world. Although I cannot fit the whole of the huge damage in my article, I can talk about the social trauma caused by the great sadness it brought.

Destructive natural disasters such as earthquakes are experiences that result in unexpected losses. Individuals of all ages are affected, and its repercussions continue for a long time. The images watched on television and social media will probably remain in our memory even years later. It brings with it many negative emotions, such as sudden startle reactions, great fear, insomnia, anger, nightmares and similar emotions and movements. Each individual experiences these sorrows differently within himself. Some may not be able to go out of the house alone, may not be able to walk alone, maybe not talk for a while or act as if nothing is happening. However, the pain experienced by the survivors of the loss of their relatives also makes them experience feelings such as guilt and shame, questioning why they were saved. These feelings are not only the feelings of the survivors, but also the feelings of the country. For this reason, this situation is explained by social trauma. After establishing an environment of trust, psychological support is required. The
negative emotions we experience are perfectly normal, depending on the moment. Almost all of us are hurting, we are thirsty, we are hungry, we are cold, our hearts are crying.

Physical and mental health is the right of all of us and is important for a balanced life. Trust is essential for this to happen. It is our most natural right to feel safe in ourselves, our home, our city, our country. For this reason, it is essential to establish the necessary social order, to create a safe environment immediately, to start the efforts to cope with the powerlessness and all negative emotions caused by the trauma, and for each person to reach their own potential strength. My entire nation is now mobilizing and working to create healthy conditions. That’s the only key to getting back up, and it’s called hope. What we need is HOPE. This world has seen many devastating disasters. It gave a snag from where it was broken, and it grew green from where it was burned. Now we stand shoulder to shoulder as a nation to give hope and keep it alive. We will see the good days together and stand up together.

If we could, we would become a bird and fly, be one breath and heal each other hand in hand. Together we will relieve our physical and mental suffering. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all fellow countries, statesmen, police, gendarmerie, soldiers, fire brigades, aid organizations, transport companies, and our magnanimous people who did their best for this. Get well soon my Turkey, get well soon Syria…


The fear and panic experienced
due to the disaster also triggers
many negative emotions.
Insecurity, helplessness, shame,
anger, inadequacy etc. is in this

Along with the emotions such as remembering the
moment of the earthquake frequently, living in that
moment, sudden startle reactions, frightened by the
sounds, people experience anxiety about the future.

Depression and anxiety experienced
negatively affect mood. People may
neglect their own body care. Anorexia,
body cleanliness, sleep disturbance can
be given as examples of these conditions.

Effects of social media
The effect of social media in terms of communication and
cooperation in disaster situations is great and important. At the
same rate, there may be some false news, and it creates a
negative mood on individuals in terms of living with constant
drama. This mood feeds social trauma. Children are particularly
affected. We recommend that children restrict viewing.

In disaster periods, all negative emotions based on sadness and fear are quite
natural.We must not forget that this is a process.When the environment of trust is
provided, life will normalize over time.

Coping studies are required during and after disasters. As a public, psychological
support is very important in the normalization process.

It is necessary to be calm and understanding in communication with earthquake
victims and their relatives. It is more effective for them to ensure that they are in an
understanding and loving environment rather than being talked about. Being a good
listener is important.

Sociologist/Life Coach
Training and Student coach/ NLP Specialist

Cover photo
Dijital ArtWork: Alpgenart

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