When Tragedy Triggers Your Own Anxiety

I awakened this morning to 50 souls dead and over 400 being hospitalized for their injuries. A 64-year-old man opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

I felt my heart shatter into countless pieces and I do not have any connection to these victims. We live in an age of unprecedented terror and unpredictability. We do not know how to react at times, we feel debilitating fear and, if you are like me, your anxiety is so severe it feels as though your heart is beating out of your chest.

It is only human of us to react in this way. Struggling from an anxiety condition can bring on episodes of paranoia and panic attacks. It is a natural reaction.

I feel guilt for having an anxiety attack in relation to these events when I was not victimized. I have to push through this guilt and understand I have a valid psychological and medical condition that predisposes me to heightened feelings of fear and paranoia. It does not take away from the victims. I can still feel empathy for those involved while caring for my mental health.

I want to tell you it is OK and it is part of our human condition. Our mental health is health, period. When the world falls to pieces, my anxiety can be lessened by helping others. I can donate blood, I can offer peer counseling or I can write to you like this, so you know you are not alone.

Do not hesitate to seek medical assistance if your feelings overwhelm you and reach out to your support network for those connections.

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Thinkstock photo via f11photo

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