Living With Fear

In a world where the freedom to own a gun trumps the freedom for our children not to die how does anyone make sense of things. The anguish and prayers seem to provide a release of grief but don’t go far enough. Kids are being taught every day that we see violence, we move on.

We are not safe.

If your fundamental sense of safety in the world is shattered what do you think that is?  That is PTSD.  That is fear and insecurity in an already unstable time.  Just as families who go through trauma take extra time to heal, so too do societies suffer.  Not in small, little ways but in huge, catastrophic ways.  Ways from which we may not recover.  You think it hyperbole?  Throughout history cultures with incendiary tactics went down in flames never to rise up again.  Our gutless leader aside, what is anyone to do with their teens and and young adults who were already afraid to leave their rooms now that this has happened.

The popular media will tell you to stay glued to the news, as if knowing a killer’s timeline would change anything.  Just like 9/11 leveled the playing field for terror in our midst, Las Vegas makes it so that “regular guys” can be expected to be mass murderers regardless of their perfectly stoic backgrounds.  As we know Australia took away the guns and just like that, the violence ebbed for 25 years.  Shocker!

This column is not about politics it is about therapy.  Do you think the people don’t feel more anxious.  Or do they feel more inoculated?  I am afraid.  I used to flinch at violent movies.  Now it bothers me less and less; I am so used to it that I’m numb. DEHUMANIZING.

So young people this is for you.

  1. Get involved.  your voice has to matter.
  2. Pay attention to what you see and hear and read.
  3. Take good care of yourselves so you can help others.
  4. Remember your communities, vote local, act local.

It is also important to reassure your children that they are safe, in a world continually trying to counter that basic human need. Reassurance can come in small packets at their level.

  • Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters. Difficult conversations like this aren’t over in one session; expect to return to the topic as many times as your child needs to come to terms with this experience.

Even teenagers cannot absorb things that are over their heads.  Answer questions and get them involved in solutions like Moms Against Guns etc.  Apparently we are all global citizens searching for peace.  There’s no time like the present.