Will you get up or stay down when tragedy hits?

The world as we know it is a messed up place, and lately it seems as though it’s only getting worse. The hurricanes that devastated our nation – Harvey, Irma, Jose – were bad enough. Then Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria. And before they could get any support, a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada left over 50 people killed and hundreds injured. Now, wildfires are destroying forests and communities in our own state. The list goes on.

How do we recover from disasters like these? There’s hardly a break from one disaster to the next, and we are left dumbfounded and helpless. It’s no wonder that many are so disenchanted with our world, because our world feels as though it’s on a downward spiral to destruction.

What does that do to our minds?

According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is the most pressing concern for college students, with 41 percent of students having anxiety, followed by depression at number two with 36 percent.

Also, according to Mental Health America, two of the most likely responses to disasters and tragedies are anxiety and depression. Disasters also cause unusual levels of stress, for people both directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy.

When disaster strikes, we turn to our phones, social media, television and more. We use these items as a distraction. This is okay, but only for a time. If we distract ourselves for too long, we become numb and distant to the problems that occur. This may make sense; why would we ever want to feel pain, anxiety and depression? Wouldn’t it be better to find something else to focus on?

But therein lies the problem.

These disasters are not distant. These are things that are happening to us, our friends, our family, our country. We cannot afford to ignore or bypass these issues. These are real people in trouble, and we need to do our part to help them.

What about us though? Anyone can suffer anxiety and depression, and whether we are directly or indirectly impacted by disaster, it still hurts.

Here are some ideas for how to both do your part and relieve your anxiety:

Talk about it. Feelings that are locked away can only fester. Express your concerns and anxieties; you are not alone.

Do things that can help to relax you. It’s good to take a break from reality sometimes.  You can’t stay out of it forever, but a short break now and again can be a healthy break for your mental state.

Get involved. A quick Google search will show you all the ways that you can help the victims of these events. The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is looking for donations to help victims of the California forest fires. The American Red Cross is accepting donations for the Las Vegas shooting victims, as well as the victims of the forest fires. Doing something for others will help ease your concerns.

Be informed. Ignorance is something that our nation cannot afford. Understand what is going on and what you can do about it.

The world can be a hard, dangerous place these days, but we have to learn how to deal with it.

On our own, we’ll be overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and depressed, But together, we can make it better, little by little.