5 ways to cope with school violence trauma
With the latest horrific Michigan school shooting, many parents, students and teachers are wondering what the best ways to deal with trauma and grief during the holiday season are.
Here are five tips for coping.
Keep in mind that trauma has a different impact on people. No two people experience tragedy the same way. Even within the same family, the individual experience of loss varies. Just because someone doesn’t verbalize their loss doesn’t mean they don’t think about it.
Become aware with social media. Your story is part of your traumatic experience. Seeing it on social media can be overwhelming and spark other negative emotions. Keep in mind that others may be aware of your trauma and loss, but you still have the right to communicate what is said and shared.
Seek professional mental health help. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a licensed professional, including a therapist or counselor. It can be helpful to plan the time before or after a specific event, so that you can deal with any feelings that come with it.
However long it has been since the tragedy, the architecture of trauma and grief is made up of feelings and emotions on many levels. For example, anger or depression can resurface with vengeance. This intensity can be scary, so having a professional guide you through it can provide a sense of security that might otherwise be missing.
There is no shame in talking to a professional about your fears. Talking out loud with someone often helps you focus on the moment you are in instead of being haunted by past events and fearful of the future. It can also validate your concerns and give you a plan for dealing with stressful situations.
In addition, your physical body can be affected by grief and trauma. You may notice that your immune system is compromised because you are feeling emotionally drained.
It is essential to speak to a doctor about any physical problems you are having, including panic attacks. Broken heart syndrome is a very real and serious medical condition. While you may feel embarrassed about going to your doctor, it’s important to remember that medical advice is an important part of healing.
Give yourself and your children an opt-out pass. Anyone experiencing bereavement trauma at this time of year has an unlimited pass. It can be used anytime, anywhere and is not limited to specific situations or people. With trauma, things happen that are beyond his control, and part of the healing and feeling of security comes from regaining a sense of control. Being able to use a pass empowers you and your children.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you want to decline after first saying “yes” or if you sense your child’s reluctance, go ahead and ask if they will use their pass. It works even if you and your child are on their way to an event and want to leave when you are about to enter. Or are already at the event and realize you made a mistake while attending. This pass allows you to change your mind at any time and is a way to go without feeling guilty.
It’s not uncommon for a child to feel conflicted about attending a memorial service or other event because they don’t want to disappoint someone or are just curious about what’s going on. pass and do not want to miss. However, when it is time to enter the room, they may feel overwhelmed with anxiety or fear, so giving them the opportunity to leave can ease their negative feelings. The pass also lets them know that you are open to their emotions, good or bad, and they can trust you to explain why they want to leave the event.
Make self-registrations. A self-check-in allows you to rate how you feel. Throughout the day, check in with yourself as often as you check your cell phone to monitor where you are with your energy levels and emotions. The simple act of self-registration creates a level of personal awareness. And at the same time, you are assessing your feelings, so you can know when to take a break or when to step back from a stressful situation. If you need to recharge your batteries, try to find a way to talk to someone who is kindly supportive or, if necessary, change your schedule.
Grieving people often hide their grief rather than reveal it. And if you know someone who has lost a loved one, it means the world to them if you always acknowledge their loss, no matter how it happened. If you are mourning your loved one, take the time to think about the best way to honor their life.
To find a therapist, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.