Three Tips for Dealing With The Boston Tragedy

Driving hoambulenceme with my child in the back seat, I learned something terrible had happened in Boston. I choose not to tune into local new stations due to graphic content, but I did pull my car over and checked the news on my Iphone. What I read was horrifying; critical wounds, dismemberment, and death in an instant after two bombs exploded in a heavily crowded area near the end of the Boston Marathon.

What does one do in the face of such horror?

First of all, if you find yourself deeply upset by this event, do not turn on the news coverage today. You already know what happened; and right now, no one knows any more. The details will come out eventually, but be patient and stop seeking news, and, by all means, do not look at the photos. They will only upset you more.

Secondly, know that while there was great horror and tragedy, there were also great heroics. Many people rushed towards the chaos to help victims. People who were spectators became engaged, ripping off their own clothing to make tourniquets for the wounded. In the midst of unthinkable pain and agony there was also amazing love, kindness, compassion, and bravery – things which we are so thankful for in our fellow Americans.

Third, hug your loved ones. Forget the worries of the day, the bad traffic, the parking ticket, the late fee, the spilled drink, or stain on the new carpet. It all pales in light of today’s tragedy. Let’s focus on our loved ones, hold them tight, and be thankful we are together.

There are many more ways to deal with trauma, and for more information, contact your counselor, spiritual adviser, the Red Cross, NAMI, or your local physician.

Resources:

http://www.NAMI.org

The Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/find-help/disaster-recovery/recovering-emotionally

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp

The End of the Space Shuttle Program – Five Tips To Cope With Grief

Many of us are saddened that today, July 21st, 2011, marks the end of the NASA Space Shuttle program. Atlantis landed safely this morning, and this particular shuttle will remain in Florida.  People’s lives are significantly affected by the end of the shuttle program. The Orlando Sentinel, (www.Orlandosentinel.com), estimated that approximately 9,000  people who worked with the space shuttle will be losing their jobs. Combined with the grief of the loss of the shuttle program, and faced with a new career move, the stress and sadness could be overwhelming. Not only the employees are affected, but the surrounding communities will lose income and may be forced to close. People in the state of Florida, and beyond, are sad this program is over. Many of us who live in Florida may have taken for granted seeing the shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center and deeply regret never going to see one live.

The following is a list of symptoms people typically experience when faced with significant loss or intense stress. This list is not exhaustive, and if your symptom is distressing and is not listed, please seek additional suggestions:

  • sadness
  • irritability or anger
  • easily distracted or unable to concentrate
  • insomnia
  • isolating
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • suicidal thoughts

If you or a loved one is currently experiencing one or more of those symptoms, here are some tips to cope:

  • Acknowledge how you feel; ignoring or stuffing emotions may make you feel worse
  • Talk about how you feel with trusted relative or friend
  • Take extra good care of yourself, i.e. three nutritious meals per day, set aside time for sleep, exercise
  • Do your best to focus on the positive
  • Make an effort to incorporate humor into your life
  • Seek professional counsel for suicidal thoughts

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, even passive ones, please seek assistance from a professional. You may turn to your primary care physician, a Mental Health Counselor, psychiatrist, or support group. You can find providers on your insurance panel by calling your insurance company. If you do no have insurance and cannot afford professional services, there are many resources available to you through charitable organizations. If you need help with additional resources, please do not hesitate to phone a professional counselor or social worker for potential referrals.

For more information about the future of our country’s space program, there’s the Kennedy Space Center and NASA. If you can’t visit The Kennedy Space Center, http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/, you may want to check out the NASA website, www.NASA.gov and read “What’s Next for NASA?” While we are sad about the ending of the Space Shuttle Era, there are exciting plans already made and being made to continue our exploration of space.

About the Author:

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC is a licensed and nationally certified counselor. Laura grew up in Orlando, FL, and works with children, adolescents and adults for a variety of mental health issues including grief, anxiety and depression. Laura operates from an overall Wellness perspective, and practices an eclectic style of counseling with a focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT). Laura believes positive change is possible in all who seek it, and she enjoys the privilege to work with all who walk through her door.