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When Tragedy Strikes

Erma Bombeck

It seems like hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear of some tragedy taking place in some part of the world. When it happens in our backyards, it can leave us reeling and helpless from the shock. Here in Florida, barely a month after the deadly massacre in which seventeen people were shot and killed at a high school, another tragedy has struck. This time a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University, which happens to be my alma mater, collapsed, killing six people (as of this writing), and injuring several others.

Even though I don’t know anyone who has been affected – decades have passed since I was at FIU – the fact that it happened at my college – the place where I spent many hours, some happy, some sweating bullets over books, adaptive equipment and cadavers – this tragedy sort of hits home. I wonder how the students and faculty are going to cope with it. How the eighteen-year-old student whose friend was killed in the car while he survived is going to deal with the nightmares. How the families of the victims will cope with their loss.

My heart bleeds for them.

I gathered some tips on Coping with tragedy by the National Empowerment Center and thought I would pass them on to you, along with my own thoughts.

1. Talk about it. When tragedy strikes, many people tend to retreat into themselves and prefer not to talk to anyone. This only makes things worse. It’s better to share your feelings with others instead of keeping them bottled up inside.

2. Take care of yourself. Eat and drink properly. You may want to grab the bottle or cigarettes or worse, but don’t. Your body needs proper nourishment to deal with the shock you are experiencing. Get sufficient rest. Exercise if you can.

3. Attend to one thing at a time. Don’t overdo. Pick the task that is most important and do it. Completing even small tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment.

4. Reach out to others. This is a great way to help you take your mind off your situation and give you a sense of purpose.

5. Ask for help if you need it. If you are having difficulty fulfilling your activities of daily living, you may need help. Speak to your doctor, a trusted friend or relative or spiritual advisor. If this doesn’t work, you may need to consult a mental health professional. This is especially important if you have a history of depression or any other mental illness.

6. Pray This is not in the article, but this is my personal antidote for stress, anxiety or tragedy. However, even if you are a praying person, when tragedy strikes you may not be able to find the words. Having someone pray with you or reading the Bible or other prayers can be very helpful.

If you have read this far, please pass it on to your friends or anyone you think may need it. And remember to sign up for my mailing list where you can get updates on giveaways and all things health-related. Until next time,
God bless you.

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