Coping With Grief in the Wake of Tragedy

When the unthinkable happens, it feels incomprehensible.

When I first got the news about the Las Vegas shootings, I was instantly crippled by fear and overcome with hopelessness. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it and found myself really struggling to understand why this had happened. Even now, I can’t make sense of it.

My heart aches for the victims, and my deepest condolences go out to their families, friends and all those affected by this senseless tragedy.

Thunderous and jarring, this pointless attack has shaken all of us to the core and left us trying to process a wide range of emotions that are likely to stay with us even after the headlines and media coverage subside.

It’s important to understand that you are not alone in these feelings of shock, grief, fear and disillusionment. Even without a personal connection to the shootings, it’s expected and normal to feel emotionally impacted. Sadness, frustration, a sense of powerlessness, anger – anything you’re feeling right now is likely overwhelming and even a little numbing.

But you are not alone. We’re all in this together and share the emotional impact.

There are no words to adequately express the grief and outrage you’re likely feeling, no way to effectively convey your deep sense of loss or your struggle to understand why this has happened. This makes it more difficult to process your feelings and regain a sense of normalcy. There might also be a sense of guilt that you experience when your life returns to normal because you empathize with those whose lives were either lost or forever changed.

Despite the difficulty, I feel you should learn ways to cope when mass violence occurs.

I offer my prescriptions below, but there is one point that I’d like to emphasize before you scroll down and read them.

Dr. Nandi's Health Quiz

Don’t let fear win.

Typically, you go about your days feeling safe and protected. Then, unexpectedly, tragedy strikes and that feeling of safety goes out the window.

The fear and distress that follow not only have the ability to physically affect you (trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, poor concentration, etc.), but they can also alter your perception and make the world feel far more dangerous than it is. Yes, the world can clearly be a dangerous place, but it’s important to remember that there is more peace than you realize.

You just don’t see most of it because violence and anarchy get much more media attention and publicity.

If you find yourself questioning the state of the world or believing that you’ll never feel safe or at peace again, remember that you should first process any emotions that might be altering your perception.

When you work through your emotions, you strengthen your resilience and find your way back to that place where you can once again function and thrive.

And while the world is never going to be a perfectly safe and violence-free place, you absolutely can get back to living your life without the need to constantly look over your shoulder.

A great way to set this healing process in motion is by getting involved and helping those in need.

Below are a couple of options for helping to provide immediate and long-term support to victims of the Las Vegas shootings:

  • The MGM Resorts Foundation has set up a special fund to help support victims, their families and the organizations that support their first responders. Click here to donate.
  • Steve Sisolak, Chair of the Clark County Commission, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims and their families. It has currently raised over $10 million. Click here to donate.

If you find yourself struggling to work your way through this, please take a look at my prescriptions below. They can help you to cope with your grief, process your other emotions and focus your efforts on helping those whose lives have been forever affected.

The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
Dr. Nandi

Partha’s Prescriptions

  • Accept that an intense range of emotions is expected. Be patient with yourself and those around you as they may also be experiencing stressful reactions.
  • Lean on your tribe. Talk to friends and loved ones. Your mutual emotional support will be reassuring and can help all of you get through this difficult time.
  • Focus on the good in the world and choose to reach out to help others. This will trigger positive feelings and provide assistance to those in need.
  • Don’t let fear win. Despite the inevitably of tragic events, do your best to spread love and acceptance. Don’t make room for hate and fear.
  • Seek professional help if needed. When your emotions are taking more than just the usual toll on you (you can’t function normally, you can’t stop thinking about the negative, you can’t sleep or eat, you experience intense anger or rage that is not your norm), talk to your doctor and get professional help.

Similar Posts