This article was originally published 1/11/2011 on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
How to Get Back to Normal After a Life Altering Event
Sophia Tesch, Yahoo Contributor Network
When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and others including 9 year old Christina Taylor-Green were killed on an otherwise clear and sunny Arizona morning in January the world shifted for many people, especially those in Arizona where this senseless tragedy hit home. It is difficult after an event like this to be able to grasp what normal should be and how to get back to normal after a life altering event.All over the world every day there are bombings, accidents, and other horrific tragedies that affect those in contact with the event and those who hear about it through various means of communication. When this happens and ones sense of how life "should" be is drastically altered how can a person get back to a "normal" life after a life altering event?
The new normal.
The first thing that must happen is coming to terms with a new definition of normal. A normal where things that were not thought of before can and do happen, it is not a fact that a person has to like or be ok with they just need to acknowledge that normal is something different then it was before the event occurred.
Introduction of the new world.
Going out into the world with courage is an important step. It is normal to want to cocoon in a place thought to be safe and secure from harm. However as a person takes the courageous step out into the world behind the front door once more they are able to find that nothing happens. They are able to accomplish what they set out to accomplish and come home unscathed.
Taking personal inventory.
It is normal to take time alone to process the new post event reality. To contemplate our own fragile mortality and to come to terms in personal ways through religious traditions or other thought processes in order to release the fear and negativity an event imprints on a person and allows them to take the next step forward in life with confidence.
Regaining trust and confidence.
This is a world where terrorism exists. It's a world full of uncertainty and unknowns, a world of untreated mental illness and other what ifs of which no one human ever know all the answers. It is important to be patient with one's self and to recognize when feelings of fear or anxiety appear that they belong to a moment in the past and may not be appropriate for the current moment. Re-gaining a sense of trust for ones emotions develops with healing over time. Feeling confident and that things can be okay again becomes the default emotional state as a consistent stream of non-eventful outings continue to occur over time.
The best way to triumph over acts of terror is to go forward boldly with courage. Every moment after a tragic event that is happy and full of love and laughter demonstrates that terror did not win.