I’ve spent a great deal of my life contemplating the awful, the terrible and the brutal. This isn’t an exhaustive list but I hope it might help some of you out there trying to come to terms with this horrendous act of insane violence.
It is in our DNA to help others. A lot of you are veterans, first responders, doctors, nurses and those that aren’t, have a heart of a lion, ready and wiling to help others. And … you can’t. There is nothing you can do. You sit and watch with horror feeling useless.
This isn’t true and this is a very damaging thought pattern. Find a way to help, and it doesn’t need to be the victims of this tragedy. Find a way to give to another human, if you can find a way to do it for these people in Las Vegas, great but it doesn’t matter. Just do something. Anything that kills that feeling of helplessness in the face of adversity, tragedy and horror.
The depression that comes in the wake of something like this is very real. A cynical view of humanity seeps into our souls and turns our thoughts to the darkness. I the darkness all too well, I need to push you away from it. Instead of focusing on the horrendous act of violence look at the incredible examples of bravery, kindness and giving.
It is in the times of hardship and pain that we see our truth. It is in the silence of the aftermath that we find our true light. Those aren’t just words, I’ve lived it. Stop the darkness from taking hold; focus all your attention on the acts of light that can be seen throughout this.
Centre & Ground
However you do this, do it. Practice it religiously over the coming days. I walk in the woods with my dogs. I feed my wild garden birds and watch them. I paint and I draw. Others go to church. Whatever it is, do it.
Turn the TV Off
Choose to turn the noise off. The vultures will be circling, the noise a cacophony. Turn it off.
Who is to BLAME?
It has to be somebody’s fault. It just has to be. Even when a young child suicides I have watched time and time again how society turns like wolves on the parents. It must be THEIR fault. They let the child down. The first time I witnessed this it shook me to my core as it was within my own family that it was happening. My Uncle, a psychiatrist, told me that it was normal human behaviour to seek out blame especially when dealing with the death of its young.
Blame. Fault. It doesn’t bring anybody back and focusing on it, allowing your mind to fill with those thoughts is destructive. Turn to “How can I help?”, “What is it that I am hurting most about?”… if you can pinpoint that, then you can effectively negate that need for revenge.
Seek out SUPPORT
I have set up a Life AFter PTSD Private Group, you are welcome to join. In that group are a great number of supportive, accomplished Mental Health advocates and professionals. We are all there to support, listen and share. Or, talk to your friends. Make sure those conversations are positive and you aren’t simply swirling around the drain hole together.
Accept the ANGER, RAGE & All NEGATIVE FEELINGS
Allow them to wash over you. Listen to them. Hear them out. Cry. Hit the wall with your fist. Throw a stone into the lake. Go to the range and shoot shit. Whatever it is that you need to do, do it. Do NOT bottle those thoughts and emotions up; they will leak horribly in inappropriate places if you do. Allow them to flow out, until they have exhausted themselves.
You have a VOICE Use It
Express yourself. Use your frontal lobes (the ones that don’t work when we are PTSD triggered). Connect, debate (politely) and have your voice heard. In this way you fight the feeling of helpless and hopeless (the two suicide ingredients, in case we had forgotten). Do not take your rage out on others, but do express it. Allow it to be heard. Voice it.
Secure, Safe, Centred Space
Make sure you have that to retreat to. You will need it.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. There is support and those who “get it”. Reach out.