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    Posted May 22, 2008 by
    Anxian, China
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    China earthquake

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    Continued Care



    China Quake – The Continued Struggle





    Dr. M. Marko



    Psychiatrist China




    It has happened, an earthquake and all it's devastation on

    every level in a major scale event.



    So what now?



    In the wake of this terrible and unthinkable natural disaster

    so much has been lost and so much more will also be. This will require a new

    and extra effort on the part of all of us. It is in some ways just the beginning.

    The focus will begin to change now. Now as the shock will slowly wear off and

    the realization of the true events will begin to set in. Into the minds and

    emotions and hearts of all those involved.



    The efforts towards the real and lasting recovery must begin

    and must be followed up and sought after. This will require a tremendous effort

    from all those who can participate in this path of helping everyone involved to

    regain their life once again.



    For the hundreds of thousands who have suffered directly as

    well as all those who have participated in the massive efforts to save as many

    people as possible.



    Imparting knowledge of what all this means in the form of

    educating them will be of great importance to help them to understand better

    their feelings. How and why they feel all that that do feel as well as what

    they will feel in the days and months to come.



    Firstly, the focus of course must be in to stabilize their living

    conditions. To make some base of the normal functions of life. A place to live,

    food to eat and a purpose of work in some way. As this is being set in place,

    then it will be even more so needed that while things are settling down in that

    way, that all the emotional and mental thoughts and feelings must be even more

    addressed and the road to real complete recover must be encouraged and pursued.

    This, as the "shock" begins to wear off the mixed and often-buried

    emotions will start to manifest for many in a great number of ways. They must

    learn about the "grief process" and what those usual steps mean. To

    go through these "stages" and how it all works, what is natural. They

    must learn that this is a "normal" reaction to better understand that

    there is "nothing wrong" with this process. It is rather that if they

    do not have this, then there is something more wrong and must be dealt with.



    It will be somewhat different for those who are younger to

    the elderly. Different for those who lost close family members and for those

    who lost friends. For those who just are more empathetic of the fact that such

    an overwhelming and still climbing number of dead mount ever higher.



    It will find many ways of manifesting in all of the people involved.

    There will be anger, frustration, sadness and sorrow on many levels. Moreover,

    many will feel that life cannot possibly ever be the same again. And they will

    be right in many ways. No, for some it "won't" be ever the same. However,

    in life, nothing ever really does stay exactly the same. Life is any way ever

    changing and in this case will change even more.



    In time, yes things will become better and to some degree

    will be more normal once again. Nevertheless, they must be made to understand

    that it "will" take a long time and that different people and

    situations will take different ways to help with this process. While we are all

    the same, some things as individuals will be different. Just as with the

    culture here in China,

    other factors also involved may make things different from any other parts of

    the world. As an example, here in China, the standard for normal

    habits of emotions is more widely accepted that many emotions are to be

    "hidden" and not talked about in public. It is a part of the general

    way of things here. This however will make this recovery process more difficult

    in the long run. To be able to tap into those deeper emotions and to bring them

    to the surface will require more work and a little longer process. While the

    typical time for the shock to wear off many, here more will require a longer

    period of time for this. A usual 7 to 10 days for some cultures is more the

    case, here it may take some additional time, such as 12, 14 or more days. These

    things are hidden by many well here and as a cultural habit. So this must also

    be considered.



    There will be a need for hundreds of counselors and

    therapists and all this should be coordinated to make things the most efficiently

    effective as possible.



    As well as the victims of this tragic and devastating disaster,

    those who have and are working this earthquake will also need extreme

    counseling and care after all this. As those efforts start to slow down due to

    the need, then they too will need much help in dealing with all that they have

    seen and experienced in this.



    All of those involved at whatever level will experience many

    possible side effects. Sleep disturbances, nightmares, flash backs to the

    actual earthquake, the lose of loved ones and those close to them will create

    many kinds of mixed and sometimes confusing feelings. Especially since the

    culture is more prone to not revel those deeper emotions.



    People will experience sorrow, tears, and outbursts of

    anger, confusion and frustrations over sometimes the smallest things. Anything

    will be possible to "trigger" a wide array of emotions, which many

    times will be for what seems at the time, "no valid reason". Nevertheless,

    this will be actually a normal response and will be dependent on those

    individuals and personalities as well as the general aspect of most humans.



    All these people must be made to understand that much of all

    this will be actually a "normal and expected" response. That it is

    "okay" to feel these things. They will need to be encouraged to let

    these emotions and feelings come out. Yes, they need to try to be tapered in a

    reasonable way as much as they can possibly do, but come they will and again, it

    is all right. It is as it should be.



    We, on the outside looking in must also be more tolerable

    and very patient and understanding. We cannot look at these actions with such a

    critical or judgmental eye. We must allow them some "room" to

    negotiate the things they have inside and to allow them to express these in a

    way that "vents" their feelings. This especially with all the

    children involved.



    They all must be encouraged to try to understand that while

    so many died, so many also survived. And that in this survival, there is a

    reason that they have survived. There is something in their life that they need

    to do and should be encouraged to go and find out what purpose that is. That they,

    who seek these things, will also be occupied with a new and stronger purpose n

    their life. That they who continue will have the opportunity to be more and

    better than they once were.



    The strength and courage to make changes in their own life and

    in the lives of others. To come together as a whole people and make a

    difference. That in this, they have a chance to show the "best" of

    human kind to the rest of the world. To come together to help each other. If

    they look around all these who have suffered now share a common bond between

    them unlike any others around them.  A

    chance to pull together and to become the "best" they can be.



    In this, the sorrow and pain can be made into something much

    more than that sorrow. It can be made into a bright and shinning star for all

    those who come after can follow to the betterment of the world. To show the

    real "spirit" of what humans can be when they must. To show the world

    what it means to truly "survive". And more than just survive, to

    become more than we normally are.



    We must make them understand that while this is horrible and

    devastating, we can working together turn this around to show all people, what

    being humans really means.



    As a psychiatrist here in China, I hope that I have this

    opportunity to help in this continued long-term effort. One week in Anxian

    doing mostly medical was only the beginning and with luck, I hope that I can do

    more. Only time will tell and we must encourage them to go on and pursue life

    as it will become.



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