Waking up to tragic news is my least favorite thing, naturally no one wants to feel helpless or unsafe. No one wants to wake up from restful sleep learning that other people are mourning the loss of loved ones or experiencing the after-effects of a traumatic experience. There have been many deaths, losses of homes and destructions of civilizations due to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes over the past weeks. And now we have the loss and injury of innocent individuals in Las Vegas.
Personally, this most recent and shocking shooting makes me feel some type of way, and it is hard to describe it in just one word. I feel shocked, I feel angered, I feel sad, I feel worried, and I feel stressed along with many other feelings. I decided to write this blog not only to acknowledge my own feelings, but in hopes to help those who may feel this same way.
It’s important to recognize how we feel when we are slapped in the face by tragic news because the more we recognize how our bodies/feelings are responding, the better equipped we are at taking care of ourselves. We may feel the tension in our necks, or the headache rolling in, or we may feel the numbness in our hearts. We may feel the huge punch in the stomach, the karate chop in the throat, the burn in our eyes, and maybe even the fidgetiness that are bodies feel as we try to sit still. We may see the tears rolling down but feel absolutely no control over the stream. We may feel like we are experiencing a million emotions all at once, or get a strange urge to scream. You may feel helpless because this experience is so foreign to you, and you have no idea what to do or how to make sense it of it all. These are all experiences that can happen in light of a tragedy or a loss.
So take some time for yourself, whether its during your lunch break, during your fifteen minute break, after work, while lounging at home, whenever. We are likely going to continue finding out about a lot of things throughout our day, especially as the news unfolds. We are exposed to the endless channels covering the stories which increases are tension and worrisome thoughts even more. So make sure you take this little time to let yourself feel, and ask yourself, “What is my reaction?”. Check in with yourself and process it. Don’t ignore the feelings, minimize them, or brush them off just because you weren’t there or because you didn’t have a loved one there. It’s perfectly okay to feel some type of way too.
Allow yourself some time to feel, maybe talk to someone that you feel comfortable with about these feelings. Journal about them. Blog about them. Grant yourself a day, an hour, fifteen minutes, whatever you think is necessary to do this. Afterwards, make sure that you take care of yourself. Go for a walk. Take a warm bath. Have some dinner with a friend. Watch a comedy. Go to the gym. Give someone a hug. Give yourself a hug. Because all we have control over is our own actions. We have control over the love we give to ourselves and the love we demonstrate towards others.
There’s a lot more information to share for those that had a death of a loved one, were in the shooting, or even those that were exposed to secondary trauma. I would love to do posts for each of these experiences in the near future, but for now, I would like to share a resource that can assist you with receiving free mental health services through a program called Victims of Crime. If you are a relative of someone who was injured or killed, or are someone who was in this music festival in Las Vegas, please know that you are eligible free mental health services along with other services through Victims of Crime, as long as you were a resident of California at the time of the crime. Please read the FAQ’s on that link to find out more, and/or click here to apply.
If you are a resident of another state, here is a list of the other Victims of Crime programs with a similar process: National Association of Victims of Crime.