The following letter
has been sent to all students by the Counseling Service.
The shocking assaults
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
have touched every member of the Smith community. We at
the Smith College Counseling Service want to provide
information and support to help us take care of ourselves
and each other as we grapple with this terrible tragedy.
Below, you will
find information about common responses to disaster and
ideas about how to take care of yourself and each other,
available for support.
and a sense of unreality are typical responses to disasters
and other kinds of trauma, especially shortly
after the event. Both are normal protective
You may feel stunned or dazed. You may feel removed from the disaster,
not wanting to acknowledge that something very stressful has happened.
feel numb or as if the tragedy is unreal.
As the initial shock subsides,
reactions vary from one person to another. Your response to it may
also change from day to day. The more closely
affects your life, the more intense your reactions are likely to
be. If you have experienced a serious trauma in the past,
may be more
intense, but you may also know more about what is helpful for you
in times of severe stress.
A sudden disaster such as what
occurred can cause reactions that affect us physically,
emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. You
Common feelings include sadness, fear, anxiety, anger and numbness.
Irritability, difficulty falling asleep, or a heightened startle
response may occur.
It may be harder to concentrate. You may have spiritual questions
disaster. You may want to be alone, or you may find it harder to
be alone. There is no
one standard reaction to the stress of disaster. We all will have
different responses, none of which is inherently better or worse
Share what you are thinking
and feeling with others you trust. It is important not to
alone at this time.
You are a valued
the Smith community.
Together, we are helping to take care of each other. Talking
about a trauma or tragedy early on is known to be essential
that we are available at the Counseling Service to listen and
help. We will be offering group opportunities to talk
and begin to grieve
meet with you individually, if you prefer. Hours for groups
and individual appointments are listed below.
Keep a balance
between thinking about the tragedy and continuing your
usual life as a student. Although the compelling events
of the last
may be hard
to put out of your mind, it is helpful to your long- and
short-term well-being to keep to your usual routine. The
ordinary actions is
soothing and healing, and will allow us needed respite that
will ultimately help
us grieve more fully. Turn off the TV. Modulate your media
exposure so it doesn1t
overwhelming. Balance care for others with care for yourself.
things that are soothing, especially if you are feeling
bad. Be gentle with yourself. Take a walk, take a bath, make
to music, play a hard game of tennis, relax with a book.
What are the simple things
you love? Give yourself time every day to do something
Take extra good care of yourself
physically. Eat healthfully and regularly, and get enough
sleep. Do your
and alcohol, especially if you are feeling upset.
care of your spiritual needs. Whether this is attending
a service, going on a hike with an outdoor club or donating
blood with your
to what helps you feel connected to others and to all
there is. A tragedy like
can challenge our sense of spiritual connection. Joining
others in attending to spiritual needs can be especially
If you are upset and can't seem
to feel better, get counseling. The
Counseling Service is available for individual appointments,
and we will also be offering groups to talk and begin
to grieve together.
refer you to a private therapist if that feels more
wait to get help. Often a little support early on
can quickly help you draw on
and skills to feel better.