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Those of you who find yourself in pain should understand that there is nothing wrong with you. Just because our leaders request that we remain strong and even though we want to, doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with us if we are weepy, unfocused and scared. Human beings are not made of steel. We hurt when our armor is pierced. One wise man defined post-traumatic stress disorder as being frozen in shock. Our nation remains in shock and will do so for a long time.
One CEO of a large company put it this way, "I don't know what 's wrong with me, I had to fire someone today and I couldn't. I don't like firing employees, but I have never before been unable to. What's wrong with me?" He asked. "Nothing." I answered. "You feel personally wounded and you feel as if your own heart and soul have been pierced. There's nothing wrong with you. You are just like everyone else." "Oh." He slowly smiled. Color returned to his ashen face. I think, even though I don't want to, I can fire him now. I hate having to do it, but I will. Life must go on."
Though terror continues, as we get accustomed to our new reality, we will adjust. The English planted their victory gardens while bombs were bursting around them. Israel, Palestine and other countries have learned to cope with constant threats of terrorism. Their citizens continue joyfully, though never fully at ease, with their weddings, births and deaths. They have learned to live with their reality. We will too. Just expect these next weeks, and maybe even months, to be hardest.
Is there anything we can do to make transition to our new normalcy easier? Yes. Turn off TV, reach out to friends, be cautious about self-medication such as alcohol and drugs, keep a routine, work, exercise, meditate and if you are so inclined, pray. But most of all -- love. Love shared is doubled. Terror shared is halved.
Life is too hard to do alone,
Dorree Lynn, PH.D.
Dr. Dorree Lynn is co-founder of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and a practicing clinician in New York and Washington, DC. Dr. Lynn served on the executive board of the American Academy of Psychotherapists and she is on the editorial board of their publication, Voices. She is also a regular columnist for the Washington, DC newspaper, The Georgetowner. Dr. Lynn is a noted speaker and well known on the lecture circuit.