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A normal reaction to trauma

answered 12:30 PM EST, Mon January 16, 2012
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I work in as a cashier in a convenience store and gas bar. Three nights ago this guy came in with a gun and made us lie on the floor as he emptied the register. He said if we moved he was going to kill us and he sounded really crazy or high. The police have a video of the guy but no ID and so it doesn’t look like they are going to catch him.

I am having a hard time getting over the robbery. Every time the door chimes a new customer coming into the store my heart jumps and I get this fear like it’s going to be the same guy again. I know these guys will come back to places they rob and get away with more than once so it is totally possible that he will come back. I am also having nightmares about the robbery and I just feel so jittery and scared all the time. I guess how I am feeling is normal but I just want to know how long it’s going to take me to start feeling OK again?

Gina Spielman Says...

Thank you for sharing and I'm so sorry you had to go through that experience.

Yes, how you're feeling is normal and I'm glad to hear that you realize that. The amount of time it will take for you to feel "OK" again will likely be faster if you take good care of yourself. This means talking it out and expressing yourself (which it seems like you're already doing), eating as well as you possibly can, getting good sleep, etc... Also accepting how you're feeling as a normal reaction to the trauma will help you as well. You can voice all of your concerns to someone higher up in your organization (management)... also see if they can bring in a counselor to do what's called a CISD service (group or one-on-one). If you have any EAP (Employee Assistance Program) benefits, it would be a good idea to use them and speak with a professional, if you feel this can help in any way. If there are no benefits for you to see a counselor and you have limited money, then try your local health dept or sliding scale services. Hang in there, take good care of yourself, and you will likely feel much better soon.

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Page last updated Jan 16, 2012

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