For a few weeks after the nightmares of the shooting ended, my nightmares turn to loss of place. Every dream was about the floor falling out from beneath me as I ran or in an outdoor scene, every path would suddenly be blocked. Fortunately, those dreams dispersed. However, they create a feeling of loss and disconnect. So what is important is to:
- Feel what you need to feel. Your body is telling you what you need, listen. If crying is the urge, put yourself in a position where you can cry. If you feel that you need to scream, be in a place where you can. If you feel the need to hit someone(thing), please go to a place where you can do that safely without causing a brawl.
- Accept the feeling, acknowledge it and let it go. My support group REALLY didn’t like that I said that last week. Especially those that are still stuck on that night. By no means is this part easy. It may take one time or it can take 20 times but I swear, the intensity will diminish. .
- Be kind to yourself. It’s going to feel like a cha-cha. You think finally it’s behind me and then WHAM! You’re hit again. Truthfully, I don’t think it ever will be completely behind me.
- Be positive. Yes, you read that correctly. There is actually a branch of psychology now that is using positive thoughts to aid in the trauma recovery, it’s called Positive Traumatic Therapy and it actually promotes Post Traumatic Growth. What? Yes, Post Traumatic Growth is when you come out stronger than you were before the incident.
- Life continues on. The world keeps spinning. The mortgage needs to be paid. The boss expects employees to show up to work. People continue to be born and die. As difficult as it is life does go on. For example, Immediately after the shooting, I went on my scheduled vacation and then Halloween hit. A month later, my son had to move back home. Then came Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Two weeks later, my elderly mom fell, breaking her nose that landed her in an ICU unit. Three weeks later and the day before I was flying out to handle her financial affairs so she didn’t have to worry about them while in the hospital, me and my boyfriend of 5 years broke up. 5 days after that, mom dies. Guess what? Life happens.
- Focus on the good that you have. I’m grateful to have steady footing with a good and stable job, a home, and a few friends and family that have been there for me.
These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned in the last four months. Have an awesome day!