As we previously discussed at length, Urbex can be dangerous for several reasons: physical hazards, legal issues, liability problems, health risks and criminal encounters.
What we haven’t touch upon though, is the elephant in the (decaying) room, i.e : Emotional trauma.
While it can be exciting and exhilarating for some, it can also have emotional consequences that should not be ignored. One must understand that Urbexing can be very emotionally taxing, especially when exploring sites with a history of tragedy, violence, and trauma. For example, former prisons, cemeteries, asylums, and hospitals may evoke strong emotions and memories.
The experience of exploring such places can be overwhelming and potentially traumatizing, leading to a range of emotional responses such as anxiety, fear, sadness, and distress. Additionally, urbexers may encounter human remains or evidence of violent crimes, which can cause further distress.
Exposure to such emotionally charged spaces can also trigger pre-existing mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety disorders. It is therefore crucial to recognize that urbexing can be emotionally taxing and to take steps to ensure mental health and well-being. The potential emotional consequences of exploring abandoned places should be considered, and proper precautions should be taken to ensure that urbexers stay safe and well.
For one thing, I recommend that urbexers approach their targeted sites with respect and sensitivity, avoiding damaging or disrupting the environment.
Additionally, it may be helpful to have a support system in place, such as a trusted friend or mental health professional, to process emotions and reactions.While it may not always be possible to prevent the stress, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition.
- Build resilience: Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from adversity. Building resilience can be helpful in coping with trauma. Strategies to build resilience include practicing self-care, maintaining a positive outlook, and developing strong social support networks.
- Seek support: Following a traumatic urbex outing, it is important to seek support from friends, family, or, in extreme cases, a mental health professionals. It may some a bit extreme, but you should know when to seek professional help: If symptoms of PTSD persist for more than a month or are interfering with your daily life, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Treatment options include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
- Talking about the experience can help to process emotions and reduce the risk of developing PTSD.
- Practice relaxation techniques before going out on an urban exploration: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Stay active: Physical exercise can be helpful in reducing stress and improving mood. Staying active can also help to promote a sense of control and mastery, which can be helpful in coping with stress. In addition, physical optimisation will always come in handy in any sort of effort caused by urbexing.
- Avoid substance use: Substance use can interfere with the recovery process and increase the risk of developing any sort of trauma.
While these strategies may not guarantee the prevention of stress or anxiety, they can be helpful in reducing the risk and promoting the urbexer’s mental health and well-being.
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