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As You Remember 9/11, Remember to Take Care of Yourself, Too

Cardinal Innovations — September 10, 2021 — 4 min read

“When the second plane hit, everybody knew we were under some kind of attack,” Diane said. “I remember crying. I remember being afraid. It shook my world. My sense of safety and security.”

September 11, 2001. Diane watched the events unfold on TV in real time—the loss of nearly 3,000 Americans in a matter of hours.

Six months after the attack, Diane had to quit her job. Her moderate bipolar disorder had become far too severe to manage. She has not been able to work since. “The attack kicked my bipolar disorder into overdrive,” she explained.

You’re Not Alone

Diane isn’t the only person whose mental health worsened after 9/11. This tragedy caused trauma on a national scale.

As we reflect on these events 20 years later, it’s critical that we prioritize our mental, physical, and emotional health. Here are a few ways to protect your and your loved ones’ wellbeing on this day.

You Don’t Have to Watch the News

Well-intentioned news and media outlets may show scenes from the attack. These images can be extremely distressing, especially if you struggle with your mental health already. Be honest with yourself. If you feel the memorial coverage may trigger you in some way, consider avoiding news channels altogether.

Keep Busy and Practice Self-Care

What activities nurture you? What makes you feel safe? Choose to take it slow and practice a little self-care. You can do things like:
  • Watching your favorite feel-good movie
  • Spending time with your family and friends
  • Going for a long walk with a loved one
  • Playing your favorite video games

MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING

An online screening can help you figure out what you are feeling and how to find support.

 

Reach Out to Your Support System

Even if you avoid the news and stay busy, painful feelings may still arise. Call or visit your support system. They can include:
  • Family members
  • Close friends
  • Your behavioral health provider
  • A support group you’re a part of
  • Your sponsor (if you’re in the 12-Step Program)
Even if you don’t feel like talking about 9/11, use the time to connect. A simple conversation can help keep you from fixating on negative thoughts.

Don’t Hesitate to Get Help

If you feel like you or your loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, dial **ASK on your cell phone (or 1-800-939-5911 from any phone) to get help quickly. One of our licensed clinicians will work with you to get the support you need.
Other available resources include:
  • Are you having thoughts of suicide? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit this website.
  • In a crisis? Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor for free.
  • Are you a veteran and need support? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press option 1. You can also text 838255 from your cell phone.
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