MDS Strong – Journey of Hope: Healing from Trauma as a Community

Hey Everyone!

Just realized today that it’s been a really long time since I wrote my last blog. The past few months, since the MSD shooting it has been hectic. Between my regular caseload, my volunteering work with the Florida Counseling Association, Trauma Recovery Network Chapter, Professional United for Parkland, my family time, and the pro-bono work with the survivors of the Parkland shooting I have been pretty busy. 

Today, I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to be able to serve the community in such magnitude. Last weekend, was my birthday weekend and it was an amazing experience to be able to spend that day by serving others. I was grateful to be able to spend some quality time with Deb DelVaccio and learn from her endless wisdom. Her divine guidance and teaching had been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in a long time. I was always someone who loved to learn and reflect back on how I can become a better person and a better professional. I feel that the past weekend made me a better person and a better professional.

I am writing all of this because at times, during the past few months, I didn’t know how our community will be able to bounce back from such a terrible tragedy. As terrible as this tragedy affected us, it is uplifting to see some of the changes it created and facilitated. I do think that the community has grown and made some strides toward imported changes toward changes that need to happen in this world. Approaching the six month anniversary and the beginning of the school year for all the kids from MSD brings with it a lot of fears, concerns and insecurities. I want to make sure that those who know me know that I am committed to support the community for the long run. I am here to stay and willing to help in anyway I can. Nothing will ever make what happened makes sense. However, like any other trauma we’re going to have to find the ways of coping with the huge loss in our community on many different layers.

Trauma affects the brain in such a way that changes the way it is built. Thankfully, our mind is plastic and therefore can make the changes necessary to return to normalcy. It is not going to be a simple, effortless process, but it is possible if you take the right steps to make the change. One of the things we spoke about in the training last week was the window of tolerance. Some of us are not aware of the fact that if we feel that we are shutting down, feel a little spacey, lose track of time or start feeling sluggish and it feels uncomfortable it may be a sign that we are dyregulated. Dysregulation may even feel like agitation, being anxious or angry. That type of dysregulation need to be addressed in order for it not to become worse. Becoming worse on one side can be hyperarousal – such as feeling extremely anxious, angry, or even out of control. You may feel sensations of feeling threatened or overwhelmed and you might want to fight or run away. The other extreme of dysregulation may be hyperarousal, feeling out of control. You may feel sensations of feeling threatened or overwhelmed and you might want to fight or  run away. The other extreme of this regulation may be hypoarousal. You may feel extremely zoned out or numb both emotionally and physically. You may feel like time just goes by and you feel as if you’re frozen. It’s not something you want to feel her choose to feel but your body totally takes over. Both extremes mean that you’re experiencing some former stress and trauma. You may feel that it’s hard to stay calm more focused and you’re easily thrown out of balance. If you feel any of the above symptoms I would strongly recommend making sure you start taking care of yourself. if you are a parent, teacher, or a counselor it is time to take care of yourself to make sure you could continue taking care of others. It can start by exercising, meditating, using essential oil‘s or anything that makes you feel better. Of course therapy would be a good place to start as well. Finding a qualified trauma therapist can make a huge difference. If you notice any of those signs in your children or those you love maybe will be a good suggestion to have them go to therapy. 

There are many resources available for the community. You can access some of the information on the Florida Counseling Association website here. Other information you can find on the professional United for Parkland Facebook group here. As well as the trauma recovery network website here. If you need to reach me directly please click here.   May this be as easy and smooth as possible new school year at Parkland Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school and schools everywhere around.

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