Nigeria can be considered ‘hot’ over the last few days as a result of the #endsars #endpolicebrutality protests. In states such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Edo, to mention a few, there have been records of loss of lives and properties.
I don’t know about you, but it has been emotional, mentally and physically draining for me. If you are among the few that are not affected, you might want to continue reading for a loved one.
Therefore, we have put together an awesome mental health first aid self-management tips that have been proven to work to help relieve symptoms. These will help mitigate against future mental and emotional health challenges such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia among others as a results of the end SARS protests.
First, Know The Signs...
It’s important to know and identify areas of concern with your mental and emotional health. That is to say, knowing the warning signs and symptoms is critical for self-management. Here are some common possible signs and symptoms…
- Prolonged or strong feelings of anger
- Feeling continuously low or sad
- Feelings of hopelessness about the future
- Irritability or transfer of aggression
- Flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts
- Troubles concentrating or sleeping
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Negative emotions towards yourself, others or the world
- Easily startled or frightened
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
- Changes in eating such as low appetite or increased hunger
- Overuse of substances such as alcohol or drug
- Unexplained physical ailments such as stomach aches, headaches, etc.
- Thinking about suicide
Do note that this is not an exhaustive list. You should note that if you feel your mental health is strained or notice a change in mental health as a result of the end SARS protests, it probably is, and needs to be attended to making use of some of the below tips as a guideline.
1) Practice Deep Breathing Exercise
This is a simple, but amazing way to help cope with sleep, panic attacks, anxiety, overwhelming feelings, and some of the other stresses this period. For instance, as little as 1 minute of this exercise yields results. Start small, and increase the number of minutes as the days goes by
Here is how to do a simple breathing exercise.
- Close your eyes
- Breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth slowly.
- Continuously do this till you feel calmer.
- While doing this and you notice the images, videos or any other content flashing through your mind, you can focus your attention on your breathing. Focus your attention to the way the air enters through your nose and leaves through your mouth. You can also try and replace the images with something else that calms you down.
Vent That Anger and Frustration to Someone
If you feel like shouting, shout. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like just talking, talk. Just try and do this with someone else physically or through the telephone
Take a Break Off Social Media For The Time Being
Usually, we say stick to only verified information source (for example with COVID-19), however, with the #endsars #endpolicebrutality protests it is difficult to separate the genuine from fake. Thus, if you feel that the news or information on social media is beginning to affect your mental health, please take a break or reduce information exposure.
If you have pre-existing mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety it’s best to stay off all forms of news relating to #endsars #endpolicebrutality for the time being. Let someone give you information only on you need to know basis, avoiding distressing information during this period
Don't Judge, Don't Compare
The truth is, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to respond to unsettling events. We are all different and unique in the way we think, feel, or act. Avoid judging your responses or that of others. I have seen people going through survivor’s guilt, and it’s okay. You could also have learned helplessness, and that is also okay. No matter how you feel, try not to judge or compare.
Ask yourself this “does judging myself (or others) make me (or them) feel any better?”
Avoid statements like “snap of it”, “why should I (you) even feel this way”, for instance.
Give Yourself Time
Some of the symptoms you feel are absolutely normal responses to traumatic experiences or upsetting situations. Some of the symptoms you feel as a result of the end SARS protests will naturally go away with time. The body would adjust and you should start feeling better.
Most importantly, give yourself time. As a result, the self-help mental health first aid tips above will help the recovery process of some of the mental and emotional effects of end SARS protest.
When to get professional help
- If you feel symptoms are persisting longer than 2 – 4 weeks
- If you also notice that the symptoms are getting stronger as the day goes by
- If you notice that it is beginning to affect areas of your life such as academics, work, sex, among others
- When you are using alcohol or drugs to cope
- When you feel it in your guts
Do not hesitate to reach out to us by sending a message or navigating through our services to signup immediately. 360 Psyche is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria with presence in other parts of the country. You can learn more about 360 Psyche and what we do.
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Until I come your way next time, remember better day tomorrow.