Las Vegas – Trauma and Treasures

For those involved in the horrific event in Las Vegas, I send all of you a loving virtual hug. There are no right words to calm you from the aftermath of the storm.  The dust is settling. Unfortunately, the emotional trauma is still ruminating in all of those involved. Fortunately, there are those finding the little treasures as the dust settles. Three victims have walked through my counseling door.

These victims have cried and shared the stories of pandemonium that existed at the scene of the largest mass shooting in America. They all thought they were going to die. They scrambled for the one exit door left. The shooter maliciously thought of the best way to hit as many people as possible. Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, began shooting in the last hour of the show.  During the last hour of the show, he knew that security would only leave one exit door open.

The victims tell stories of how they could hear the  bullets whizzing by their heads and how they desperately searched for the hands holding the guns. The bullets continued to ricochet off the concrete floor invoking more terror in their soul. The sounds of the machine guns play over and over in their heads as they try to fall asleep at night.

I hold their hearts and hands as they share with me the horror they encountered. Those victims reported 4 hours of total chaos and horror. Their reactions are normal, and we can’t fix what is normal.  One victim said, “At one point, I accepted that I was going to die. A tremendous amount of peace came over me. I then had clarity of what to do next. I needed to run, and I did just that. “   My client found a gem to put in the treasure chest.   Acceptance of those things we can’t control creates peace. With peace, we gain clarity.

Another client shares with me, “My husband laid over me.  He protected me.”  Her husband proves that chivalry isn’t gone. A man’s DNA is to protect and provide for his family and it is still here in America. Another gem to add to the treasure box.

One victim cried and shared her vulnerable side to me. She said, “I hate to cry and didn’t really want to cry.” She continued to process and reported, “I need to take another look at how I’m living my life. I spend 14 to 15 hours a day at work. I don’t have time for friends, a relationship, or any time to play.  In an instant, this shooter changed my life.  Now, I need to make a change in my life.” A reflective thought, I add another gold nugget to the treasure box.

As the dust settles from this crisis, my clients found treasures. The rainbow will emerge when the storm is over. As Freud says, “When you look back in retrospect, those days of struggle will be the most beautiful.”

In my counseling office, I am using the tool of EMDR to help these victims process the struggles of this crisis.  Don’t’ wait to get help.  Stephen Paddock is dead. He can’t hurt anyone anymore.  Your thoughts linked to the event are the only thing that can hurt you.  You may have buried those thoughts into your unconscious mind.

Your body’s number one priority is to keep you alive.  After a traumatic event, you don’t want to think about the event.  However, you are still swirling those thoughts around in your head.  You are afraid to think about it.  You keep burying those thoughts deeper and deeper as you avoid thinking about them.  EMDR helps to calm you as you say out loud all those thoughts that you keep trying to bury.  I have seen my clients breathe a sigh of relief after EMDR.  You can learn more about EMDR here.

A crisis is the best time to uncover your treasures. I am happy to help you find those golden nuggets.

Here is a poem that has helped my clients many times over. Here it is:

I asked God to take away my habit
God said no
It is not for me take away but for you to give it up

I asked God to make my handicap child whole.
God said no.
His spirit is whole; his body is only temporary

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said no
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; Patience is learned

I asked God to give me happiness
God said no
I give you blessing; happiness is up to you

I asked God to spare me pain
God said no
Suffering draws you apart from your worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said no
You must grow on your own
But I will prune you to make you fruitful

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said no
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things

I asked God to help me LOVE others as much as he loves me. God said ……Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

Author: Unknown

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