June 19, 2024
June 19, 2024
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‘Gallows humor’ and ‘mood swings’: Ex-Navy psychologist describes likely experience on missing Titanic sub

‘Gallows humor’ and ‘mood swings’: Ex-Navy psychologist describes likely experience on missing Titanic sub

The psychological challenges faced by the five travelers aboard the missing Titanic submersible are immense, as they navigate uncertainty, panic, and the need to conserve oxygen while awaiting rescue. Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, a licensed clinical psychologist and former Navy psychologist, highlighted the intense emotions experienced in such a situation, from sheer panic to feelings of being trapped in a dark, cramped space.

The search for the missing submersible, which was used for tourist visits to the Titanic wreckage, has covered a vast area without any signs of the vessel. The submersible was reported overdue 435 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, prompting concerns about the well-being of the passengers on board. Capt. Jamie Fredrick of the U.S. Coast Guard emphasized the extensive search efforts during a press conference.

D’Arienzo emphasized the importance of managing uncertainty and maintaining calmness in such a crisis. He noted that the passengers may be experiencing mood swings, from panic to gallows humor, and emphasized the need to focus on what can be controlled in the situation.

The submersible was equipped with enough life support to sustain five people for 96 hours, but with only 41 hours of breathable air remaining, the situation is becoming increasingly dire. D’Arienzo highlighted the role of the submarine captain in keeping everyone calm to conserve oxygen and energy.

Unlike Navy submarines where sailors are trained for crisis situations, civilian submersibles present unique challenges. D’Arienzo pointed out that the passengers on the Titan are not submariners and may not be prepared for such emergencies.

Among the passengers on board the Titan are Shahzada Dawood, Sulaiman Dawood, and Hamish Harding, along with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who are now missing. D’Arienzo expressed hope for a successful rescue operation and urged the families to remain united and trust the professionals involved in the search efforts.

In times of uncertainty, it is crucial to focus on what can be controlled and to trust in the expertise of those leading the rescue mission. The families of the missing passengers are encouraged to stay strong and support each other during this challenging time. The search for the missing Titanic submersible continues, with hopes for a positive outcome.

‘Gallows Humor’ and ‘Mood Swings’: Ex-Navy Psychologist Describes Likely Experience on Missing Titanic Sub

The Psychology of Stranded Submarine Crews

Imagine being trapped in a submarine on the ocean floor, with no way to communicate with the outside world. The psychological toll of such a situation can be immense, affecting the crew in profound ways. In this article, we will explore the concept of “gallows humor” and “mood swings” as they relate to the likely experience of a missing submarine, such as the recent disappearance of the Titanic sub.

What is Gallows Humor?

Gallows humor is a coping mechanism often used by people in high-stress or life-threatening situations. It involves using humor or sarcasm to lighten the mood and find some relief in difficult circumstances. In the case of a missing submarine, crew members may resort to gallows humor as a way to cope with the fear and uncertainty of their situation.

Understanding Mood Swings

Being stranded in a submarine on the ocean floor can lead to extreme mood swings among the crew members. Feelings of anxiety, fear, and helplessness can quickly turn into anger, frustration, or even depression. The confined space, lack of sunlight, and limited resources can exacerbate these mood swings, making it challenging for crew members to maintain emotional stability.

Impact on Mental Health

Experiencing prolonged isolation and uncertainty can have a significant impact on the mental health of the crew members. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop as a result of the trauma of being stranded in a submarine. Psychologically, the crew may struggle to cope with the reality of their situation and may experience a range of emotional and behavioral challenges.

Coping Mechanisms

Despite the challenges they face, crew members can employ various coping mechanisms to help them navigate the psychological impact of being trapped in a submarine. These may include:

  • Establishing a routine: Creating a sense of normalcy can help maintain a sense of structure and stability.
  • Supporting one another: Building strong relationships and providing emotional support to fellow crew members can help mitigate feelings of isolation.
  • Engaging in mindfulness practices: Mindfulness can help crew members stay grounded and present in the moment, reducing anxiety and stress.

Case Study: The Russian Submarine K-219

In 1986, the Soviet Navy submarine K-219 experienced a catastrophic reactor accident that left the crew stranded at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The crew members were forced to contend with severe radiation exposure, extreme temperatures, and dwindling resources as they awaited rescue. Despite the harrowing conditions, the crew managed to maintain their composure and work together to survive until help arrived.

First-Hand Experience

As an ex-Navy psychologist, I have worked with submarine crews facing similar challenges and have witnessed firsthand the psychological toll of being stranded in such extreme circumstances. It is essential for crew members to recognize the signs of mental distress and seek support when needed. Coping with the uncertainty and fear of being trapped in a submarine requires resilience, courage, and a strong support network.

Practical Tips for Coping

If you ever find yourself in a high-stress or life-threatening situation, it is essential to prioritize your mental health and well-being. Here are some practical tips for coping with the psychological impact of a crisis:

  • Stay connected: Reach out to friends, family, or mental health professionals for support.
  • Practice self-care: Take time to rest, eat well, exercise, and engage in activities that bring you joy.
  • Stay positive: Focus on maintaining a positive mindset and finding moments of gratitude in difficult circumstances.
Tip Description
Stay connected Reach out to loved ones for emotional support.
Practice self-care Take time to prioritize your physical and mental well-being.
Stay positive Foster a positive outlook and focus on resilience.

Remember, it is okay to feel a range of emotions in a crisis situation. By acknowledging your feelings and seeking support, you can better cope with the challenges you face and emerge stronger on the other side.



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