Are we supposed to just “get over” what happened in New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, Newtown and communities across America besieged by murder? Put these things behind us as we champion America’s resilient spirit? Sweep the residual effects of terror and trauma under the rug where we’ve been hiding other horrific parts of our past?
Here are seven suggestions for dealing with incidents like yesterday’s shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas:
- Allow yourself time to feel the deep sorrow, anger, outrage, fear and disgust that most of us experience when something like this happens.
- Hold those at the epicenter of these tragedies in your good thoughts and prayers. Even more importantly, take action to directly help them in the days ahead.
- Resist the desire to spew “quick fix” solutions, explanations and radical, self-righteous judgements about why this happened and how to prevent it in the future.
- If you’re serious about getting on the solution side of this problem, dedicate yourself to working with people and organizations that are making a positive difference when it comes to mental health initiatives, regulating gun sales, and eliminating the conditions in our society/world that lead to violence.
- Vent your sense of horror and helplessness. Talk it out with someone you trust. Don’t keep it all inside. Turn off the news and allow yourself to air out on a daily basis.
- Get professional help if you need it. Your system may be on overload and re-traumatized by what has been happening. Learning to settle and calm your nervous system and brain, fight off crippling despair and build resilience might be the order of the day.
- Maintain a balance of being realistic, accepting “It is what it is,” with being hopeful “It may be what it is today, but we can make it better tomorrow.”