During this time of crisis, we turn to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. A poet, author, and psychoanalyst, Dr. Estes works with the students of Columbine High School to deal with the tragedy that struck their community in 1999. She advises America to recognize the normal reactions that we may have after such devastation.
Normal Reaction to Loss, Injury and Catastrophe
Physical reactions: fatigue, inability to sleep, sleeping too much, exhaustion, changes in appetite, digestive disturbances, feeling numb, crying, need for comfort.
Behavioral reactions: hyperactivity, poor concentration, inability to attach importance to anything but this event, flashbacks, nightmares, recurring dreams, inability to remember, refusing to talk, feeling one should not cry, startled reactions while awake or asleep, wanting to be alone, wanting to just sit or just stare.
Psychological reactions: feelings of fear, guilt or helplessness; feeling one cannot stop crying; anger, which may cause outbursts and the blaming of others; frustration with rescue workers, the bureaucracy, anyone who tries to help; violent fantasies; anxiety; depression; amnesia; thinking no one can ever understand, no one can ever help; blaming oneself.
These are normal reactions and, although painful, are parts of the healing process. There's not a lot anyone can do to make you not experience these feelings, but they will recede if you will take the following actions.
Actions to Take for Recovery
From the October 2001 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!