This post is also available in: Arabic

The fourth X space of the Andariya series of spaces on the Sudan crisis was held on January 24th and titled "Culture Shock & Resettling: Addressing the mental burden resulting from experiencing war and displacement." The space was hosted by Dr. Sami, a psychiatrist specializing in trauma treatment, joined by Lujain Al-Sadiq, a researcher and data analyst, and Afnan Hassabo, a physician, writer, and researcher.

To listen to the whole space on X, click here.

Below are the key takeaways from the space:

Understanding Trauma

  • Trauma is when a person is exposed to harm, such as an accident or knowing that a close person has been exposed to an accident.
  • Repeated trauma creates significant psychological effects, and post-traumatic stress disorder PSTD is normal in such cases. One of the complexities of the situation in Sudan is that traumas are frequent and continuous due to the persistence of their causes (social, political, economic etc.).
  • Most individuals recover from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after weeks. The nature of the symptoms varies from one individual to another, and women are more susceptible to PTSD. For individuals with a history of trauma or psychological problems, the support they receive, health, and age are all factors that affect them.
  • There are two types of reactions to trauma: immediate and delayed, such as feelings of guilt (survivor guilt), fear, despair, excessive violence and hostility, excessive nervousness, inability to concentrate and poor memory, sleep and appetite disorders, isolation and other symptoms.
  • If symptoms persist for more than a few weeks or have an immediate effect, individuals should consult a doctor.

Dealing with Trauma

  • Individuals who have been exposed to trauma must give themselves enough time and space. It is okay to not be okay.
  • It is important to express feelings verbally, whether with family, friends or specialists. Social support is one of the most effective tools in treating trauma.
  • Maintaining a daily routine and healthy habits such as eating healthy, sleeping enough hours, exercising, and reducing following the news are all factors that help.
  • Finally, helping others and providing support and assistance are among the things that give a sense of satisfaction and purpose, which help the recovery process.

Community Solidarity

  • Sharing stories and experiences is important. Most individuals do not understand the extent of the trauma they have experienced, so stories help in acknowledging feelings.
  • Fleeing from conflict areas puts individuals in the category of dealing with an emergency situation, and therefore all decisions are forced and not based on conviction, which creates a psychological barrier to all the consequences resulting from them.
  • Among the problems that individuals face when resettling are hate speech and racism, the presence of which is reinforced by digital platforms behind which people may take shelter, in contrast to reality.
  • Solidarity and interdependence are among the most important things that reduce the psychological burden and give individuals the feeling that they are seen. Initiatives such as Shoghl Al Alam and Big Sudanese Sister have provided safe spaces for solidarity and sharing for Sudanese women across the globe, connecting and sharing on Facebook and X respectively.
  • Hearing different experiences also helps individuals understand their feelings, and gives a sense of solidarity.

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Andariya's editorial team