Sometimes I really hate being a therapist. I hate it because I spent the beginnings of my career in crisis work. I also worked as a school based therapist for three years. I have had multiple trainings in trauma, including a three day training specifically geared at being prepared for a traumatic/crisis event at a school.
What difference does this make? It makes me numb to trauma. I feel separated from it. I don't allow myself to get really involved. The good thing about that is I'm great in a crisis. I stay calm. I'm trained on how to provide on the spot counseling and assess someone who has been exposed to trauma. I'm all business where trauma is concerned. The bad part is, well, I don't feel a lot. I feel disconnected. Numb. My world doesn't get rocked a lot like everyone else when traumatic events happens. I felt more trauma when we had the flood in Tennessee a couple of years ago, and when we had a tornado hit our town. Of course, I was involved in that trauma, so, feeling that was a good, natural thing to feel.
So, when news of the tragic event in Connecticut started posting on Twitter on Friday, I wondered how bad it really was. Thankfully (I guess) I was away from the TV the entire day and didn't turn on the news until the evening. Even then, I limited it. I didn't watch the news. I didn't read articles on the Internet. It wouldn't change anything. I stayed off Facebook. I just really didn't NEED to be exposed to anymore trauma.
I was shocked. I was saddened, deeply, for the witnesses of the horrific crime, the families involved. And I thought how horrible it was for those babies and adults who died in such a sudden, traumatic way.
But, I didn't cry. I wish I could have. On facebook and Twitter everyone was crying and hugging their kids. Deeply moved by what had just happened and realizing the brevity of life. How fragile it is. So I spent the weekend wanting to feel more. To cry. To worry about my babies more. I don't know. I am honestly just numb. And I hate it.
Maybe I am still in shock. I mean my oldest is the age of those babies killed on Friday. How can that not break my heart? Bring me to tears. I guess because I know that it didn't happen to them and for that I am thankful and there is really no need to emotionally put yourself through that. I mean, it's one thing to be empathetic and to feel for the victims and their families but it doesn't do anything to put your baby at that event and imagining the loss, the grief and the trauma you would feel if, in fact, it did happen to your baby. In fact, it can be very emotionally damaging.
I also know that just because this event happened to children the same age as my own doesn't mean it's going to happen to mine. Another good thing about being trained for crises is that you know statistics. The possibility of this happening again in this specific way is highly unlikely.Anytime there is school violence you have to understand that there is variable that you cannot control....and that is the variable of a very unstable person. I hope through this event that this helps those in power understand better how to prevent these kinds of events. I hope that those who are mentally ill get the care and service and medications they need.
I don't have any of the answers and quite honestly, they are too overwhelming to even break down today. Because we are all still processing this event. We are still mourning. And I'm still trying to feel my way through it. So, I'm just going to pray and mourn. And let a little bit more of this in and feel and process this event as best I can.