- death of a loved one (including a pet)
- loss of a job/business
- grave illness
- debilitating accident
- break up
- assault- sexual or otherwise
The above list is just a small sample of tragic/traumatic things that can occur in a person’s life. Any of these things can cause one to feel a wide range of negative emotions. They can all cause anxiety. This list of things are not unicorns- most people will experience some sort of trauma in their life.
For the purposes of this post today, we will work with the theory that no one ever actually gets over a tragic/traumatic event. One will experience the emotions involved with any of these things for the rest of their lives. There is no timeline for when someone is supposed to be over it: you probably will never be over it.
Ok? No one actually gets over a traumatic event. Always inside them. Three months. Five years. Twenty five years- these events remain with us.
Now let me ask you a practical question:
Did you ever have a friend who broke up/divorced from a person. Did you ever think to yourself: Wow- it’s been five years since Morticia divorced Gomez. She still talks about him all the time. And his new wife. She seems so bitter. Is she ever getting past this?
Did you ever have a friends whose parent has died? Gee- Heathcliff still talks about the things his father did and didn’t do when he was growing up. It’s been ten years. He still seems so sad and angry. Is he ever going to get over it?
Have you ever had thoughts like this? It’s OK if you have: I’m not going to ask you to admit it here. I just want you to think if you’ve ever had thoughts like this.
If you have had thoughts like this, was your reasoning a lack of compassion? A lack of empathy?
Were you just worried about the level of sad or bitter or angry or fearful (insert negative emotion here) that your friend was facing?
Were you worried because your friend appeared to be rooted in place?
Were you worried that the negative emotion had taken over your friend mind, body and soul?
Had this negative emotion made your friend drink more? Eat less?
Had this negative emotion resulted in them engaging in less than optimal behavior patterns?
There’s an old New York story about the Collyer Brothers. They had been a very wealthy family at the turn of the last century. One brother came home from WWI with what was then referred to as “shell shock”. One of the behavior patterns that resulted was that this man, along with his brother, became extreme hoarders. Newspapers, things off the street, etc. It got so bad that I believe one of the brothers died when he was trying to crawl to his brother when a pile of junk fell on him. The other brother died of starvation.
Shell shock is now more commonly known as PTSD.
After effects of trauma and tragedy can be far reaching if they are not taken care of.
Anxiety should not be on anyone’s bucket list. If one is feeling inordinately anxious, one should speak to a mental health professional. Anxiety may not go away on it’s own- it may build and get worse.
If you had a tumor, would you not speak to a Doctor to see what you should do about it?
Why would you be more callous because you might have something wrong with your mental health.
We shouldn’t put a band aid on mental health. Didn’t we just watch Naomi Osaka and the French Open thing?
Anxiety is open to all who want it. There is no age restriction. Anxiety is color blind. It doesn’t care about socio economic status. Every single person alive has the ability to ride the anxiety train. The only question is, what stop do you want to get off at? Do you want to jump off now, or do you want to wait to the end of the line?
Compassion can be viewed from many angles. If you see your friend suffering, is it more compassionate to say something that might upset them, or is it more compassionate to ignore it?