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Coping With A Traumatic Event…How Do We As Individuals, As A Community, As A Nation Cope With The Aurora Theater Shooting?

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In a blink of an eye, your life can change. People in a movie theater expecting to be entertained in a world of violent fantasy instead become involved in a horrific act of real violence that is impossible to comprehend. And then it quickly becomes deeply personal for all of us observing from afar.

I have found myself over the past 24 hours thinking about this event off and on…the horror of it, the senseless killings, the lives forever changed….we suddenly are a nation of people all shoulder to shoulder, touched by these killings, and trying to make sense of it.

What is recommended when a traumatic event turns your world upside down?

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After surviving a disaster or act of violence, people may feel dazed or even numb…even those of us who has only experienced it from the news. We may also feel sad, helpless, or anxious. In spite of the tragedy, some people just feel happy to be alive.

It is not unusual to have bad memories or dreams. You may avoid places or people that remind you of the disaster. You might have trouble sleeping, eating, or paying attention. Many people have short tempers and get angry easily.

These are all normal reactions to stress.  It may take time before you start to feel better.

You may have strong feelings right away. Or you may not notice a change until much later, after the crisis is over. Stress can change how you act with your friends and family. It will take time for you to feel better and for your life to return to normal. Give yourself time to heal.

The CDC recommends the following steps to help you feel better. A traumatic event disrupts your life. There is no simple fix to make things better right away. But there are actions that can help you, your family, and your community heal. Try to:

  • Follow a normal routine as much as possible.
  • Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.
  • Exercise and stay active.
  • Help other people in your community as a volunteer. Stay busy.
  • Accept help from family, friends, co-workers, or clergy. Talk about your feelings with them.
  • Limit your time around the sights and sounds of what happened. Don’t dwell on TV, radio, or newspaper reports on the tragedy.

I would also encourage us as a nation to openly discuss this tragedy and ask ourselves the question why and what can we do about this.

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This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on mobilitycloud and commented:
    In the wake of this horrible tragedy, I’m reblogging this piece from Regina Phelps. As unfortunate as the situation is in Colorado, it is a very timely and worthwhile message. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends affected by this deranged gunman.

  2. Terror Within
    by Jason Powell
    The stars in the heavens shine down upon this dark and lonely abyss,

    This black sultry night
    Called Grief

    When then sun arises to awaken the morning dew,
    And when the birds sing their songs of love and hope,
    When the angels stand upon the silky sands,
    And sing their songs of love and hope,

    The darkness within the soul of a mortal
    Will once again be ridden of that pain,
    And he will live once more

    But as the sun sets upon the starry night,
    That pain called grief will return once again
    To haunt, and to terrorize the mortal man.
    With every waking moment, every point in time
    And with every breath, the soul breathes in,
    Stones of ancient times, and immense measure,
    Will pierce the body, the soul, and the mind;
    And grief will once again rein free.

    It never really leaves us but we learn to live with the agony and loss. Meaningless violence, arbitrary and unjustified, make it so much worse but life goes on for those of us left behind. Our grief becomes a part of us. Events like this bring back the pain like it was fresh and we remember and learn to live with it, to own our sadness and loss all over again.

    Do something good in memory of those lost. It is the only action left us and will lead us toward the path of healing and acceptance.

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