Out of respect to the families who were affected by the Aurora, Colorado shooting, I challenge each of us to dig deep into our souls and share our compassion with these families. Across the globe, we are all deeply affected by this senseless loss of life and its tragic aftermath. How can we make sense of something that doesn't make sense? How can we move forward knowing even a movie theater is not a safe place? How To Talk To Your Kids About The Colorado Massacre
There is violence surrounding us everywhere; in homes, in neighborhoods, in towns, in cities, in counties, in states, in countries and around the globe. The following four responses are typical for people who have experienced tragedy and trauma:
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1. People tend to re-experience the trauma event. People will react emotionally to anything that reminds them of the trauma. For example, each news story they hear of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado will re-expose them to the feelings of not being safe. They might have nightmares that have a theme of feeling helpless and vulnerable. They may not be able to sleep, and may display fearful behavior or irritability.
2. Traumatized people may try to escape their feelings. They may intentionally stay busy so they won't think of the trauma. They may avoid triggers like TV, radio, or Internet articles. They may intentionally bury their feelings and "pretend it did not happen." Our bodies are designed in a way that by shutting down uncomfortable feelings, we also shut down generally positive feelings.
3. Some people will experience increased emotional responses. Often times, these include insomnia, inability to make decisions, irritability, problems with concentration, feelings of grief or feeling a pit in one's stomach.
4. Those that have been traumatized may feel unsafe. Other daunting emotions that can be experienced include feeling out of control, losing connections with other people, losing a sense of freedom, feeling grief, losing one's identity, feeling survivors' guilt, irritability, feeling revengeful, or experiencing a spiritual crisis. Tragedy In Aurora: 5 Tips To Help Us All Recover
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When you experience trauma or are witness to someone who is traumatized, there are things you can do to help. We all have choices to make; we can choose healing and compassion or instead, festering disconnection. It is easy to feel defeated and scared given tragedies like The Dark Knight Rises shooting. We can complain about many things and feel victimized by the events, or we can choose to heal.
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