As someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life I understand that anxiety isn’t a really good description of what goes on. Terror more accurately fits what I feel sometimes. I bring this up because of the shooting that occurred in Florida last night. This takes me back to the years when my anxiety blossomed into full time terror.
This world is a scary place. I think that it probably always has been and from the way it looks now-it will continue to be scary for a long time. I was raising young children when the Oklahoma bombing, Columbine shooting, 9/11 and the anthrax scare happened. We also had 3 women disappear from my town in 1992 and a horrible murder in 1995.
For those of us with anxiety these things can totally shut us down. Today I feel sadness not terror and that is a huge step for me. I wanted to tell you some of the things that I did that I believe helped me to get better at dealing with the horror of the world.
- For a while, a long while, I didn’t watch the news. I have a sort of obsessive personality at times and especially after 9/11 and the days/weeks of coverage I watched every minute of coverage that I could. I think that I was waiting to hear that it had just been some mistake or accident or some rational explanation. There is no explanation for some things so following every moment of news isn’t helpful. We must ask ourselves “Is this helping me or hurting me?”.
- Realize that violence has been around for a long time-one of the main differences these days is that we have immediate access to it, often with graphic images. I do believe that being aware of these things is good when we can keep our composure and let these events and images spur is to work for peace and understanding rather than falling into hopelessness. When you feel yourself falling into that space, turn off the TV and radio. Spend some time with family and friends. Knowing that you aren’t alone in the world is helpful.
- If you are a single parent then this becomes even more important. Find people that you feel safe with. It is our jobs to keep our children safe and we need a place to vent when our fears are becoming overwhelming and we worry that we can’t protect them.
- I no longer avoid the news now that my terror is at a more manageable level but I am extremely aware how easily it can boil back up. I monitor myself, my feelings and how much time I spend following scary situations.
- If you are feeling totally overwhelmed don’t be afraid to get professional help. Yeah it takes time and costs money but not dealing with crippling situations takes a horrible toll on our lives too.
What are some ways that you deal with terror from events totally beyond your control?