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Caring for Ourselves After a Tragedy

May 31, 2022

Over the recent tragedy in Texas, we can all feel worried, frightened, sad, or even a sense of devastation. Some of us can feel emotionally numb or in a state of shock.

When experiencing trauma, even secondary trauma, it is helpful to talk about our experience, while being conscious of our physical and emotional state. Let’s take a moment to recognize what our body is processing, let’s not judge ourselves. Mindfulness Exercise

When processing your feelings, consider; how this event relates to you? How are you feeling?

Can you remember previous difficult situations that you were able to cope with? Thinking about previous events can help us see the resilience within ourselves and even in humankind. Those in more proximity might present with short term stress reactions and in more need to express their feelings and focus on their well-being to reduce the risk of having prolonged distress.

Now, how do we reinstate a sense of safety and security during these tough times? Let’s not forget Maslow and his Hierarchy of needs. Let’s go to basics and monitor first our sleep and eating pattern, are we experiencing any changes? If so, let’s concentrate on those. Afterwards, let’s look into our social interactions and sense of love and belonging. Are we interacting with others, do we feel supported? If not, let’s concentrate on that.

Returning to our usual routine is the way to go. However, after a mass shooting, many experience higher levels of anxiety and fear in public spaces. If this is so, ask yourself is it possible for an event like this to happen? Unfortunately the answer is yes… Then ask yourself, Is it PROBABLE for an event like this to happen? The answer fortunately is no. If you notice higher levels of distress, engaging with your community, participating in memorials, joining advocacy groups, or even seeking professional help could be very helpful. Remember to keep practicing relaxation techniques and know that we will have better times. Relaxation Tips


Included are some helpful links:

https://www.cheservices.com/blog/we-are-with-you-texas

https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/coping-in-the-aftermath-of-a-shooting

https://www.nctsn.org/treatments-and-practices/psychological-first-aid-and-skills-for-psychological-recovery/about-pfa

https://blog.swedish.org/mental-health/five-ways-to-care-for-yourself-in-the-aftermath-of-a-national-tragedy

https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-safety-and-crisis/school-violence-resources/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers

https://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/gun-violence-prevention



About the author:
Dr. Karem Cando is a Clinical Psychologist. She is also the new Clinical Director for the Southern Region for our SNF and Outpatient practice. She lives with her husband and two school-aged wonderful daughters in Florida. Prior to living in Florida, they lived in Houston,TX. Dr. Cando keeps Texas near to her heart.


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