What is your initial response when you see this news?
Anger, disbelief, shock, fear, sadness, or indifference? Do you ask, Why? How? Whatever your response, it’s normal and a part of the grief process.
I felt disbelief, sadness and anger. Again? Why? How? Plus, drive by shootings in our “safe” suburb? What has this world gone to?
First, if you’ve been personally impacted by a mass shooting or other traumatic death, my deepest condolences to you and your family. My heart breaks with you and your grief. I acknowledge this terrible trauma has now forever changed your life. Know you are not alone.
Second, if you are impacted by the news and hearing of these tragedies you aren’t alone. This is secondary grief. You didn’t lose a loved one or know anyone involved but the shock and news of it has impacted you. I acknowledge you and know you too are not alone.
Maybe you are sad, fearful, angry, filled with anxiety, even feeling depressed. I’ve heard comments like, “This world is a terrible place. What have we come to in the US? Why bother?, I’m just going to ignore this and keep on living., I’m afraid of ….” All normal responses and parts of the grieving process.
If you’d like to learn more about the grief process – click here.
I’ve been blessed wealth of expertise and resources about grief and feel compelled to write to help someone out there with coping with these awful and too commonplace tragedies.
Steps to Grapple With Trauma & Grief
1. Acknowledge your reactions and feelings to the trauma
- Take a moment and ask yourself – How is this impacting me and my life?
2. Take time to allow yourself to feel. This includes both emotionally and physically.
- Grief can show up in sadness, stomach aches, body aches, anger and many more.
- Allow the emotional feelings to come, and just be with them – no judgement.
- Journaling can be a good way to help process this and get it all out.
3. Unplug – from the news and social media
- We can easily become overwhelmed and consumed by the constant barrage of news and social media.
- You are in control – you do not have to look at it or take part of it. Turn it off, stop the notifications on your devices. I know I had to it was becoming too much.
4. Determine what you can control and what you cannot?
- This can help give us a sense of control back and begin to provide a sense of stability in our chaotic world.
5. Care for yourself – self-care
- Emotionally, physically and spiritually
- Exercise, eat healthy, mediate/pray, get rest and sleep
- Time, money, resources to a cause, local groups that support the incident.
- Currently there are blood bank donations if you are able
7. Support – find support
- Talking to a trusted person, spiritual leader, friend, family, counselor or coach.
- Join a group online or in person
8. Gratitude and Blessings
- What are you grateful for – write them down.
- Where have you been blessed, by whom or what?
- This helps move you hope and possibilities
I help people with their grieving hearts and are feeling overwhelmed with how to plan to move forward. Click here to learn how I help and support others.
Much peace, love and blessings,
Teresa – processing these tragedies.
Teresa Q. Bitner, M.Ed., PMP, ACC - Resiliency, Change and Loss Coach
Partnering with those who have been knocked down my life and want to build resiliency and move forward and live a bold life.
Author of Soul Love: How A Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again
Understanding our grief responses to acts of mass violence
Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
Understanding Traumatic Grief — Mass Violence, Shattered Lives
Coping with Trauma and Grief
Teresa's Grief Resources
Torn in Half Resources
A Cup of Comfort for the Grieving Heart: Stories to lift your spirit and heal your soul
Soul Love: How A Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again
Teresa's other recommended reading