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When the bad things don’t stop…

Has anyone else raised their hand in the past week or so and said they can’t take another negative moment entering their lives? We’ve had mass shootings in multiple places, and watched the unsuspecting going about their daily lives only to have someone- or several someone’s- not come home. No matter the politics of anyone here, seeing so many people die is simply hard to make sense of, isn’t it?

Then there are the folks who made an impact in our lives from afar- the big screen, small screen, music, arts- and we’ve had a lot of those losses, too.

Let’s throw in a couple of major hurricanes, and the devastation they wrought, and… overload.

Just overload.

I am seeing it in my office multiple times a day. I have children coming in traumatized from seeing things on TV that don’t belong in front of them. In our community we had a hostage situation at a neighborhood school last week- kids had to be evacuated by SWAT, and a parent died who was involved in it, but a child at the school lost their parent on that campus. Today, I had two people ask if it was even safe to go to church anymore.

And then there are the grievers, who hear about all of this, and it compounds, doesn’t it?

It feels like your grief- the stuff you are not done with yet- is coming back, like a bad movie.

You’re remembering the things that cause your sadness to recur.

  • First, let me tell you that you’re not alone. One recent loss is enough to have an increase in grief symptoms.
  • Second, it will not last as long it they initially did
  • Third, if it feels overwhelming, or even a bit much, find someone to share it with- I guarantee you are not the only one being impacted right now.
  • Finally, as with everything grief, that thing about taking care of yourself is absolutely real and necessary right now.

What do you need to be mindful of?

  • Lack of sleep impairing your ability to function
  • Allowing yourself to spend too much time and energy watching news that increases your response
  • Increasing signs of depression- because when you have moved through much of your grief process and then are dragged backward, if there is a family history of depression it can move from grief to depression more easily.
    • Watch for losing interest in things you have found to be enjoyable again; appetite changes; overwhelming sadness that lasts more than a few minutes to an hour; being easily frustrated or angry; difficulty concentrating; and feelings of exhaustion.

That sounds like your initial grief, doesn’t it? That’s why many people interpret grief as being depression. In this instance, however, there is a risk if you have had episodes of depression in the past or the feelings seem to take over after being far less intense prior to the impact of the current news cycle.

So, for today…

  • If the TV must be on (I know it does in our house) it does not have to feature newscasts 24/7
  • We have something known as “outside.” Go there. Put on a jacket, or a parka, or sunscreen, or take an umbrella- and go there.
  • Breathe. Slowly, deeply, with intention.
  • Find something to focus on in the immediate that is peaceful or relaxing. Tomorrow I am going to take a rose to work from my front yard, now that the weather is not broiling them before they bloom.
  • Plan time out. Then use it.
  • Relax your shoulders. You know where they are- you can feel them if you are in a touch spot emotionally.
  • Put on music. I have my earbuds in as I am writing this.
  • Honor your sadness- you really do miss your loved ones and their ability to get through the hard times with you at moments like this. Maybe remember their words, or their touch, or how they helped make the unimaginable better, even if only a little bit.
  • Find someone to share it with. In person, online, on the phone- make a connection.

I don’t usually end with stuff like this, but… now go peace out.

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