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Commentary on the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

by Elizabeth Rahamim, LCSW, SAP, Strategies for Success

In light of the mass shooting last Friday, I feel it is important first to acknowledge the tremendous loss that not only has been felt within the affected community of Sandy Hook, but for all of the moms and dads out across the country and around the world who so relate to the parents who lost their most prized possessions in a flash, their innocent children and the brave and compassionate teachers who were there as well. This week I have been spending a lot of time debriefing affected individuals reacting to this event. People often ask, how will I and the country get through such a situation? The most important part of the recovery process when affected by a traumatic event is to allow your mind and body to express the intensity of emotion that we all are so used to bottling up inside. Remember, this emotional response is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. If you need to cry, cry. If you are feeling irritable or anxious, be mindful of that and find some spiritual or intellectual solace to cope. Try not, if possible, to ignore or limit the emotional flow that your mind and body needs, as it will just delay the inevitable, the need to express those unavoidable emotions. Environmentally, be aware of limiting attention to the news, or rehashing the trauma over and over if it doesn’t help you feel better. Limit the information overload that the media can overcome you with. As has been occurring all week, sometimes putting the emotion into positive action, such as collecting donations or redirecting the pain into a positive framework will help, and I personally am happy to see that is exactly what many are doing. Surround yourselves with the ones you love, and find meaning in your life outside of yourself. That, is what will help you to heal.

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