Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grieving for others...

And trying not to personalize. The tragedy of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School have struck a chord in me. When awful things happen we are touched to varying degrees depending on how 'close to home' they are. As a parent, I can thankfully only imagine what every parent in Newtown is feeling but that imagining is horrible enough. I cannot think about it too much or I feel sick to my stomach. It feels self-centered to write about how this event has hit ME but I started this blog to help ME to remember what I did and when I did it. I would not normally write about something that was global news. One of the 'tools' in my mental health tool box is to compartmentalize things. I have a tendency to string together all of the awful times in my life. When anything goes wrong my mind wants to reach back and bring all the other things that went wrong in the past, that might be remotely related, and add them to the present problem. I have to use the logical side of my brain to tease apart what is and is not relevant in the here and now. Sometimes it IS helpful to look at similar events from the past but I tend to overdo it and forget all the good that has happened in between or even the good that has come out of the difficult times.
But this event has been poking at many sore spots. I know that having it happen here in my state, in a town similar to mine has made a difference in how it affects me. This became obvious when the news coverage switched from just our usual local folks (reporters, politicians, state officials, etc) to the more well known people. I have seen our state police spokes man; Lt. Paul Vance, speaking to local news reporters on TV many times. But never with so many national and international folks. Somehow, when bad things happen that are physically further away it is easier to keep it emotionally further away as well.
Besides these connections, I feel a connection because my daughter and niece are school teachers. Even prior to this my daughter had been asked by a student if she would try to shield the students with her body in such an event. It makes it hard not to imagine that those adults who did just that could have easily been one of these girls that I love and cherish. Just hearing them speak about the protocols and drills that is now part of being a teacher makes it easier to imagine what those people went through.
But the part of this event that causes me the most conflicting emotions; the part that I understand on the most personal level are the issues of mental health, learning disabilities, and gun control. I will not go into these issues in detail here. But I really wish I knew of an appropriate place to speak AND BE HEARD about the ways in which I know from experience that many of the ideas and opinions run counter to my experiences.
I am trying to distance myself from these comments but it is difficult. We are all looking for answers, a way of understanding this horror and a way of releasing some of the emotions that have been stirred up by it. I know that what I should do is some felting therapy since it is a bit too cold for me to do my dirt therapy out in the garden. But then again maybe I need to just allow myself to grieve. When you suffer from depression it can be hard to know when it is time to fight the sadness and when it is time to give in for a bit. I do know that it IS time to send wishes or prayers for peace for the entire world and for ourselves. Maybe if we find peace inside we can spread it to others.

 Post script. A phone call while I was writing this of a break in at a neighbors house has really not helped my emotions. I had to go down when her alarm when off to bring the key and talk with the police since we are the alternate contact. So much for the illusion of safety in bucolic little towns. 

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