Available for Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D.
Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Women and Trauma, and has worked with hundreds of people struggling with mental health issues.
Talking Points From Dr. Colleen Cira
On Technology & Social Media’s Negative Impact:
We live in a scary world and the 24/7 access to all of the scariness due to the technology era and social media is too much for anyone to handle. Most of us struggle to watch or read about real-life atrocities and may have some mild anxiety symptoms as a result. We may avoid the content entirely, experience intrusive and/or ruminating thoughts about the disaster, feel inclined to research it more, or talk about it excessively. When we witness or read about something incredibly disturbing, these are all commonplace and should fade in a matter of days.
How do we know when there’s an issue? Here are 3 red flags to consider:
- Anxiety Doesn’t Fade Quickly. If the anxiety about the disaster doesn’t fade in a couple of days OR the symptoms are really intense (the symptoms make it difficult to function), that’s a different thing. It’s a good general rule of thumb that whenever your reaction is way bigger or way more intense than the situation itself, there’s something else going on. Now, of course, a mass shooting or disaster of any kind is going to be incredibly disturbing for those involved or directly affected. And any compassionate human being is going to feel some level of disturbance when hearing about something as awful as this. However, if you are NOT directly affected by the tragedy and it’s still interfering with your ability to function in your life, it’s fair to assume that it’s not JUST the tragedy you are reacting to.
- The Story Triggers Intense Emotions or Symptoms. Perhaps the tragedy reminds you of your own tragedy or engenders feelings of horror and helplessness which remind you of a terrible time in your own life. Regardless, if the symptoms are really intense and/or last more than a couple of weeks, it’s time to get some professional help.
- Experiencing Upset Feelings on a Regular Basis. Whether or not your symptoms are intense or mild, last a day or two or a couple of weeks, if you are feeling upset on a regular basis by all of the scary things happening in the world, it’s probably helpful to explore your boundaries about keeping up with current events. It’s one thing to have an idea of what’s going on in the world—it’s an entirely different thing to ingest current events constantly throughout your day.
The Importance of Setting
It’s Okay to set some limits about when, where, and how often you will read or listen to the news. It’s okay to give yourself permission to not read click-bait stories on Facebook. It’s Okay to tell a friend you’re just not up for talking about whatever the recent tragedy is. And it’s more than okay, it’s healthy and necessary to set some boundaries.
Interview: Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D.
Dr. Colleen Cira received both her Master’s and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois. She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.
She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference,” by Today’s Chicago Woman. Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.
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