How Can We Respond to Tragic Loss?
How are you feeling? What are you feeling in your body?
As for me (Aimee here, co-host of the Joy Lab podcast), I've been a sobbing, ticked off human the last few days. I rollercoastered between fear, apathy, sorrow, and fiery rage. My body also tumbled between lethargy and a fierce triple-threat position. Now I'm tired. Just really flippin' tired.
Can you relate?
I have a nearly 4-year old who I could hardly drop off at preschool this week. I mean... what if? Many of my friends with k-12 kids also texted me in the last 48 hours. They all described this pit of aching fear and uncertainty that felt so consuming.
It's exhausting to hold all of the experiences that have happened in the last few years. The Uvalde mass shooting might feel like too much, like a last dagger in our collective hope for a healthier community.
That's what we're talking about in this episode. How is joy even possible amidst so much tragic loss? How can we keep the elements of joy that we work on in Joy Lab present amidst such pain and sorrow?
An important truth to hold onto is that we're wired for joy, resilience, and all the other elements we work with here. AND, we need some support to fill up our tank because, particularly at times like this, we can get depleted. When we pause to fill up a bit, then we'll have some fuel to tap into our elements of joy and take wise action, doing the necessary work of creating healthier and safer communities.
So, please take some time to fill your tank. Seek out the support of a mental health professional, a family member, and/or a friend. You can also reach out to SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline. It's a free, 24/7 resource that offers counseling and support amidst disasters, including mass shootings. Simply call or text 1-800-985-5990 and you'll be connected with a trained crisis counselor.
NMH and Joy Lab are also here for you with resources to help fill your tank.
One key resource we've decided to offer during this time is our Resilient Kids Summit. We have removed the $75 fee to make it FREE and more accessible.
The Summit offers key resources that parents and others with kiddos in their lives can use to help navigate through adversity, with specific attention to adolescent depression, anxiety, and ADHD. The Summit is led by nationally-recognized leaders in the field of integrative mental health and is aimed at helping you utilize integrative, safe, affordable, and evidence-based strategies that can help the kids in your life thrive. There are no live dates to plug into your calendar. Simply watch the sessions whenever they fit into your schedule.
So, please use this newly free Summit to help fill your tank and nourish the kids in your life. And share with anyone who may need it as well. It's really fantastic.
Most of all, it's ok to not feel ok right now. Just know that you are resilient. We are resilient.
- Joy is not the same as happiness. It's a deeper, more lasting foundation. So, you don't need to feel happy all the time AND joy is always present.
- Acceptance is not the same as inaction. It doesn't mean you don't get mobilized. In fact, acceptance is often the most efficient fuel for wise action.
- Sometimes anger is the healthy emotion. It can ignite motivation. It's those next steps that are key. How can anger motivate healthy action?
- And, as Rainer Maria Rilke said, "No feeling is final."