Coping with Trauma After a Mass Shooting

Coping with Trauma

Coping with Trauma After a Mass Shooting

By, Mayah Taylor, M.A.

After the events of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, it can be hard to make sense of what is really going on in the world. We may be left with a lot of questions, figuring out who is to blame, and having to sit with our emotions. In this time of mourning and tragedy, that we must be aware of how we are feeling, and learning how to appropriately cope with trauma can help us and our emotions.

I have talked a lot about anger in my blogs and the various ways to cope with it. I realized following Sunday night’s tragedy that among the emotions that people in our community and all over the world would feel, anger would be the most prominent. It’s not wrong to feel anger in times like these, in fact, it is a perfectly normal response. Anger, after all, is the most passionate emotion that we have. The important questions that we need to ask ourselves and be aware of are: How do we safely and appropriately express our anger? Is there a right way and a wrong way to express anger? How do we cope with the angry feelings inside of us?

The important questions that we need to ask ourselves and be aware of are: How do we safely and appropriately express our anger? Is there a right way and a wrong way to express anger? How do we cope with trauma and angry feelings inside of us?

In national tragedies, especially ones that involve violence, it can be extremely challenging to overcome the angry feelings that we have inside. Those angry feelings are often enhanced when the violence experienced are filled with questions that we may be unable to answer. Our brain is built for processing and understanding the environment around us. But how can the brain process what is going on around us if we are unable to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the situation?

There are so many unanswered questions regarding the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Not having the much-needed answers can make it difficult for our brain to process, which leads to frustration, and in turn can lead to anger. On top of that, we are already overwhelmed by other emotions ranging from sadness, guilt, grief, and fear. We need to HEAL, even in the midst of the unknown and overwhelming emotions.

How Do We Begin to Heal?

TALK. Expressing how we feel verbally and openly acknowledging how this tragedy has made us feel is the first steps to healing. If we do not talk about what bothers us or makes us feel angry, we end up bottling it up inside of us and carrying it with us. Ultimately, that can lead to a buildup of all the emotions inside of us including anger; until one day, something triggers us and we explode! To cope with trauma and the emotions that you have, try to set time aside and really sit with your feelings. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and understand that they are all normal ways to react to the trauma experienced, whether the trauma was experienced directly or indirectly.

Find Support in Others When Coping with Trauma

Continue the dialogue with others who are more than likely experiencing similar emotions to the ones you are experiencing. Continue to TALK about how you feel with others. Share with others the emotions that overwhelm you. Share your anger, fear, grief, and frustration. Sharing and talking with others can be very therapeutic in helping you as well as the other person cope.

By the way, you could also be helping out others by sharing and talking. Like you, there are people in your community and all over the world who are struggling with their feelings. This is a time for us to all come together and support one another and care for each other. A simple place to start is to talk and share with each other.

Seek Help from Professionals in Your Community 

Sometimes our emotions and our feeling are more than we can handle by ourselves and even with the support of our friends and family. I also realize that this recent tragedy can also be a trigger for those who already have suffered personal traumas previously. If you are suffering from the trauma experienced from this week’s tragedy, or are still healing from previous trauma you’ve experienced and feel triggered by the traumatic experience in Las Vegas, I encourage you to seek additional resources in your community including individual or group therapy services.

There are several  community therapy services, including our practice at Life Cycles Counseling, that are willing and waiting to help you through these difficult and challenging times. It is very important to seek help sooner rather than later, even if it is just to sit with a professionally trained therapist and simply talk. Allow yourself access to all the resources that are in your community so that you can be proactive in your healing.


Check out our Facebook Live for more tips and tools on recovery from difficult emotions. Leave a comment here and tell us how you deal with difficult emotions!





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