It has been a rough week + here in Vegas. As you all have heard, a horrific event happened during the Route 91 Harvest festival here on October 1st. While I was not at the event, at least 10 very close friends, some that I consider family, were in attendance. As the news started breaking about this tragedy, I will never forget the feelings that I had knowing that they were there and waiting for them to let everyone know that they were out of danger.
I could never begin to imagine what they experienced that night. Psychologically, this was a life-altering event. I genuinely hope that they utilize any and all resources available to them to help with healing.
I am writing this in hopes to make myself feel better too. It's not something I have talked about, but I have been suffering from postpartum anxiety, and although I wasn't at the event, it has really set my anxiety into overdrive. For the last week I have cried more than usual and I've had this ridiculous fear that something bad is going to happen to my family and I. For example, since the weather has cooled off, we've had our windows and doors open while watching TV. A few nights ago, I asked my husband to close them because I didn't feel safe any more. We've decided that it's probably time that I should see my Doctor and discuss the situation and possible solutions. As it turns out, postpartum anxiety is actually more common than postpartum depression, but people rarely talk about it.
Everyone deals with grief in different ways. Unfortunately, a few years ago my husband had to endure the loss of his parents, but was able to find great support via counseling provided by Nathan Adelson Hospice. They have offered free counseling to those affected by the shooting and I hope that people take advantage of that. Sometimes just listening to stories from others can help you process and heal. I've really started trying to avoid the news, which is difficult. Stories about the shooting are everywhere, a constant reminder that I could've lost a lot of friends. The comments sections on social media posts have been brutal. Far too many people have focused on the wrong things, which doesn't help anyone.
The way that grief affects each individual can depend on what type of loss you've suffered, your upbringing, age and belief system. In many cases, anxiety and helplessness are the first feelings to surface. This is exactly how I've felt since last Sunday. I felt absolutely helpless and guilty that I wasn't there to help my friends, even though I know there probably wasn't much I could do. Feelings of anger are also very common, as well as overwhelming sadness. It's important to remember that these feelings are all a natural part of the grieving process and that they will eventually pass.
There is a famous saying: "time heals all wounds." I have never really believed that, but I do think that time will help make these feelings less at the forefront of your mind. Here are some practical things that may help us deal with grief and trauma:
- Talk it out: Talk to a friend, family member, health professional or counselor to help begin the healing process
- Allow yourself to feel sad: This is totally normal and a healthy part of the grieving process
- Stick to your routine: Keeping up with simple things, like walking the dog, can help
- Sleep: Emotional strain can be exhausting, so get some rest
Since everyone deals with grief differently, it is impossible to say how you think someone should be feeling. I've seen quite a few posts on social media mentioning how they don't agree with how those in the spotlight are choosing to express their grief. Until you've been there, you have no way of knowing how something like this would affect you. It's best to just be supportive of those you know - offer to talk (or just listen), provide support and give them time.
Here are some resources for getting assistance or support while dealing with the emotions many are feeling after this horrible event:
- Lake Mead Wellness Center
- Hosting a process group for affected by recent events on October 11th at 6:30PM. This will be held at 311 South Water St. in Henderson and is complimentary. No RSVP is needed and Therapists will be available
- United Health Group
- United Health Care and Southwest Medical Associates are opening Optum's emotional support help line, providing access to specially trained mental health specialists to support people affected. The toll free number is: 866.342.6892 and will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as necessary. This service is free of charge and open for anyone.
- Nathan Adelson Hospice
- There are grief and bereavement services available through the hospice and their spiritual staff is fully engaged in providing guidance to those who have suffered loss. Community members can contact them via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will all get through this together. There has been an incredible out pouring of support and love in this community and I am proud to be #VegasStrong.