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How I cope and keep hope amidst mass violence in our society

Image by Frantisek Duris

I’m saddened more and more each time that I read about the latest mass shooting in the news. With each atrocity, I feel helpless and just wish there was something that I could do. Anything but scroll, say a prayer for the community and go back to my regular day. I’ve spent hours, days, more like years reflecting on this issue as a human, mental health professional, a wife, mom, sister, friend, neighbor or just as a person trying to live the most positive life that I can. That gets really difficult seeing how our society is frequently the victim of such rage and random acts of violence. Is it pure evil? The devil’s work? Misanthropy? Could it be mental illness or a temporary break from reality in a mad world? Is it due to past trauma, abuse or bullying? 

I just wonder why? Why is life so bad that the shooter has to take innocent lives down with them? They usually commit suicide by their own hand after hurting others or by being shot by the police. With that ending in mind, what could possibly be the goal? Notoriety? Vengeance? What are safer outlets or alternatives to these homicidal/suicidal urges? The person often plans their violent act ahead of time. Why don’t they seek help or tell someone who cares for them that they are in pain or are struggling? Their support systems and communities are often shocked that a seemingly nice or quiet person could be capable of such a heinous act.

It makes a lot of people uncomfortable to talk about these horrific things that are going on around us. It’s very important to face and discuss these issues with compassion and an open mind. Without finger pointing, placing blame or pushing an agenda. It would be more helpful to ask questions and organize community forums to see what options and resources are available. We should not accept mass shootings as the new normal. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to send their kids to school. Students and school staff shouldn’t have to practice active shooter drills. Communities shouldn’t have to fear planning events with potential violence and heightened security in mind. We should be having these difficult conversations with each other, in the cities and states that we live in, on social media, etc. 

There should be more national mental health awareness campaigns and local advertisements with resources on how people can seek help or provide assistance to someone else in need. There are community mental health centers, private practices or even online therapy options for further anonymity. You can discuss troubling or depressive symptoms with a doctor or psychiatrist to rule out or address a possible chemical imbalance. There are crisis hotlines available 24/7. What keeps the person from taking that step? Simply pushing that button? I read an article recently proposing more government funding for research in answering some of these questions to prevent further occurrences. I fully support that but what should we do in the meantime? I say use your voice, your mind, your heart, skills, experience, art, talents or connections. Most importantly, keep hope alive for a better world. There is a lot more good than bad regardless of what the news may tell us. 

We need to be kinder to one another and stop building ourselves up by tearing others down. We should lift people up and try to form a strong network of positive individuals around us. Don’t like or laugh at cruel jokes directed at another’s expense. Report school bullies and promote after school programs where they can socialize, have access to constructive activities and adults who can listen and help in trying to figure out what’s going on with that individual. Why do they feel the need to victimize others? Discuss counseling options with the parents of repeat offenders. Create school projects and events to encourage confidence, communication and leadership skills. Talk to your kids every day at home about what’s going on in their lives, how they are feeling and what’s on their minds. Openly discuss core values and respect. 

Apathy doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s time to step out of our comfort zone and digital bubbles that we have created for ourselves. Engage and connect with other humans as much as possible. Let’s take away the distraction and stigma and instead put our heads together on how to make a positive impact. Try to find ways to assist or inspire others who may be struggling. Give your time volunteering. Reach out to people face to face instead of just online. Smile and be kind. You never know who’s watching and needs that little bit of good to shift their perspective. Each day we can turn it all around. If life is not going so well, search within yourself and ask why? What could be different and how do you get there? Take that one small step and the hardest part is over. Don’t give up on hope. Don’t quit life. Find something to hold onto. Love yourself enough to keep trying. Be courageous, have heart and take care.✌️❤️

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Mood Ring Kitchen

I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.

The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩‍🍳👩‍💻

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