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Too often, widely covered violent traumatic situations, like a mass shooting, become highly politicized, including the victims and survivors. In the case of the Parkland shooting, for example, a nationwide political campaign, as well as an activist movement, survivors are being criticized. Not only are they being criticized, they are being criticized on an international, mainstream, syndicated television platform. What these young survivors, and the survivors of any traumatic violence need, is compassion, not criticism. Too many survivors face critical narratives from others about what they should have done, should be doing, and should do in the future. Nobody can understand what it is like to witness a traumatic event like the people who witness traumatic events. Bloodshed, gunshots, death, injury, severe abuse, and other shocking imagery are overwhelming to the psyche. Individuals do their best to process what they have been through. Instead of being criticized, they deserve the utmost compassion as human beings attempting to cope with the unimaginable

Three ways people cope with violent trauma

Dr. Ashley Hampton spoke with Self magazine about how the survivors of mass shootings or similar trauma might experience their trauma. She specifies three distinct ways or stages of trauma. First, Hampton describes how the trauma might be immediate. Trauma can be instantaneously impactful, presenting symptoms shortly after the event of origin. Second, trauma might initially hide behind shock, which takes some time to wear off. After the initial weeks or months, shock does wear off and the symptoms of trauma will begin to present themselves. The final way people may cope with violent trauma is by suppressing or repressing their emotions. Coping with trauma is difficult, which is why the brain compartmentalizes and shuts down areas of memory associated with the trauma. As anyone who has experienced trauma learns, eventually the symptoms come to the surface. Later in life, the symptoms of trauma emerge, intensified. No matter when the symptoms arise, Hampton emphasizes, the mental struggle with trauma is one that lasts for a lifetime.

Change the narrative

Even if you are thousands of miles away from the scene of a violent trauma, you have the power to change the narrative about trauma and trauma survivors. Interrupt conversations by presenting compassionate factual information about living with trauma. Encourage others to change their perception to recognize the full scale of what someone else has lived through.

We’re proud to call Florida our home state. At The Guest House Ocala, everyone with an experience of trauma is welcomed to our estate to heal in mind, body, and spirit. Our treatment programs are customized on a concierge level of care. Each client’s treatment program is tailor fit to their specific needs and experiences. For information on life at the estate or our approach to trauma care, call us today: 1-855-483-7800