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Where Were You When the Boston Marathon Bombs Exploded?

Where were you when the Boston Marathon Bombs exploded? Katrina Giries CutOut Close

Breaking news, yet again of another major national crisis. Two brothers have been allegedly identified for planting two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon this past week.

It is difficult, if not impossible to avoid the barrage of information cast out across our nation like a giant sand storm.  The media coverage was nearly as impressive and swift as the police and military response to this crisis. Information is presented to us in every known form from newspapers to internet, to tablets, even through text messages.

This decade brought the advent of “embedded reporters” who broadcasted live, graphic coverage from the Middle East.  Our nation, and indeed the world can experience tragedies that occur on the other side of the world just as visceral as if we were there in person.

Generations ago, people would ask one another, “where were you when Kennedy was shot?” This generation remembers “where were you when 9/11 happened?” “…when Columbine happened? ”…when Virginia Tech happened?’ ”…when Newtown happened?’’ and sadly, many more. Today, we merely need access to the Internet to experience these horrific tragedies first-hand.

How does this rapidly evolving technology affect our mammalian brains? How are we able to process the gravity and volume of tragic events and how do these experiences affect us? Many of us may feel confused, overwhelmed, scared and downright depressed. At a certain point, even if we were not directly involved in the crisis, our observation of the coverage of it can be enough to cause mental health concerns leaving us unable to work, go to school, sleep or even eat.

What can the unsuspecting bystander do when they are flipping channels and find themselves fixed on repeating images of violence? The most immediate action is obviously to limit our exposure to coverage.  Our thirst for knowledge is always present, but we must recognize our own saturation point and limit what our brains cannot absorb. If we choose to continue to listen to information past the point of staying current, we may exacerbate our own anxiety that is disproportionality connected the events going on across the globe.

I am reminded of what a friend said to me post 9/11, and that was to pray for the victims and their families and then to focus on what good deeds I can do in my own circle. That simple advice has stayed with me and rings true today. We must acknowledge our own mental health needs, take care of ourselves and limit too much information, should it become detrimental to our well being.

Counseling is a solid venue in which we can allow ourselves to express our fears and anxiety about national crisis and with the help of a trained counselor; we can identify which issues are ours to resolve versus which issues are backlash from rapid media coverage. The key is to identify what challenges are within our personal power and control. We can only change those things that are within our reach.

Counselors at Preston Place Counseling in Dallas are currently accepting new clients for in person and Skype Counseling Services.  Contact Katrina Giries, LPC-Intern at (214) 677-4996 to schedule an appointment today.

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