Grief is a part of life, but it is a part that no one discusses. The key to knowing what is normal and what isn’t following a tragic event is knowing what signs to be on the lookout for. Pick up a flyer at your local clinic if you’re unsure, but always remember, there are shared experiences that those who’ve suffered a tragedy will be able to respond to.
Shock is known to be a form of numbness that hits for a period of anywhere between moments after the event and months onwards. It’s not abnormal to feel nothing after a tragedy. Don’t ever let yourself feel that it is. Shock is the body and mind’s way of compartmentalizing the stress factor so that it can study it like printed records when it feels that you are more capable of handling the full force of what has happened to you and your family or friends. If the shock does not immediately pass, don’t panic. Grief is handled in varying stages of severity. You are not ill. You are suffering.
This is described as the period after shock when an individual has to fight the full effect of the tragedy that has come to pass. It is characterized by feelings of being overwhelmed, being unable to connect one aspect of the event to another, and sometimes even fighting the reality of what has taken place in the form of denial.
Sadness and Anger
These two emotions, though they may seem very different, are tied together in a vicious cycle. Tragedy comes with both of these elements in tow. Oftentimes, anger replaces sadness as it is just easier to feel angry than it is to feel sad. Anger makes us feel powerful, big and strong. but sadness is more like being cowed. When we’re sad, we’re vulnerable.
Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their lives. Whether it’s anxiety over that big project due at work today, or anxiety because the guy twirling the banner on the street corner is too close to the car, the basic feeling is similar. Something bad is going to happen and we’re not sure what it is just yet, but in that moment we’re absolutely positive that a bad event is around the corner. In people who have suffered trauma, the anxiety is that much worse by the fact that something bad HAS happened. Anxiety is easily dealt with using grounding techniques, meditation, and breathing regulation. But in the event that it does not pass, a professional’s help may be required.
Depression is something to be on the lookout for when dealing with tragedy. It is not nearly as easily resolved as the aforementioned difficulties and can lead to a number of complications. Like anything else, though, depression occurs in varying degrees. If it’s severe to the point of affecting your way of life, do not be a hero, see a professional!
Always remember; your suffering doesn’t make you strange. You’re not alone. Someone is always there to listen, but you have to be willing to help yourself before anyone can help you.