What would you be like after adjusting to trauma?
Similar trauma reactions are commonly noted across various precipitating events such as redundancy, motor accidents, house fires, and cyclones. Exposure to suicide can also be traumatizing and have additional contexts to consider when it happens in the workplace. The reactions could be psychological, physical, behavourial, spiritual or social. Commonly we anticipate people crying and or finding it hard to talk about what happened. But it could include being angry or withdrawn, having somatic symptoms, questioning their spiritual beliefs, daring fate or acting out in other ways. It can also include feeling shame, guilt, questioning the value of life, and wondering Why ? about a lot of things.
Some people who’ve been exposed prefer to remain at work to keep their mind off it by distracting themselves or keeping busy. Whereas, others need time off to adjust and come to terms with what they experienced. You may wish staff don’t take time of work as the cost of absenteeism for any reason in Australia is estimated at $7 billion per year. But the annual cost of presenteeism is estimated to be $26 billion. Many people who’ve been exposed find when they are back at work, find they are there physically, but their mind wanders thinking about the deceased person, or the scene they encountered. So even if it’s inconvenient for the business, it’s wise to support them to have time to adjust for this reason alone. Plus time off may assist preventing them from experiencing potential psychological injuries which generally require 3 times longer time off work than other injuries.
The period of adjustment may also include staying away from work and the media until it all blows over. As the potential effect of seeing or hearing details in repetitive media reports on the television, newspaper, radio, or social media could also be too much for them. Especially as the media may cover the story numerous times when the incident is fresh, as well as in the future given media often re-use content and images. This can feels like they just can’t get away from it.
The adjustments they make after trauma could occur through grieving the loss of their workmate, working through sleeplessness, and getting gruesome images out of their mind. It could also be changing the way things will be for them in the future, such as leaving to go to a different type job or different role. Sometimes it’s about finding a new purpose in life, by keeping the parts they like and re-purposing other parts to be more meaningful, or less of a reminder of what occurred.
Just as every situation is different, what each person needs is different. It’s crucial not to judge what their re-purposed or adjusted future is, but to be there if they need you. Especially because those who’ve been exposed to suicide at work are known to be 3.5 times more like to suicide too!
So be the support for them that you would want if you were adjusting after trauma.
To learn more about this go to https://enhancesupervisionandtraining.thinkific.com