It's a normal and understandable reaction in light of what happened and it should be treated as a normal reaction. However, how one reacts to this feeling of anxiety and dread can become a problem.
There is uncertainty inherent in everything everyday and we have to understand that. The possibility of something terrible happening hasn't increased because of the school shooting on Friday.
Anxiety takes over when we worry about everything or excessively, and it becomes a bigger problem in our lives when we try to plan for these scenarios, which is an impossible undertaking. In fact, it may drive a wedge between you and loved ones – the opposite effect of what you want to happen.
A few things to try and limit anxiety from taking over:
- Limit media consumption of the aftermath of a tragic event. Remember, early reports are usually inaccurate and changing and it can be hours or more until exact information is released. Watching the memorial and grieving can be helpful, where constant reporting is not.
- Take the time you need you to grieve or cry or hold those dear to you a little closer.
- Listen to those around you. What are other people feeling?
- Do things that you have done before to relax or feel close to those around you.
- Take the time to go over emergency contact information with the people around you and set up a contact chain in the event there is a disaster.
This topic of the week was written by Brian Swope, MFT