How Michiganders can manage anxiety following mass shootings
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The mass shooting in Highland Park was not the only gun violence on Independence Day -- two police officers were grazed in Philadelphia and two people were killed Tuesday early morning in Indianapolis.
It has people across the nation on edge. People ran for cover Monday night at a fireworks show in Orlando over what they though was gun fire. Between the crackling of fireworks and the boom of thunder, it would have been difficult to tell whether or not those sounds were something else, like gunshots.
“I’m really concerned,” said Robin Morris. “People are just getting crazier and crazier.”
The heightened anxiety caused by mass shootings is exacerbated by how similar gunshots and fireworks sound. Morris is worried about what could happen in Lansing.
“Because a lot of them are like, boom boom real loud,” Morris said. “And it always reminds me, ‘Maybe that was a gunshot?’ You never know. You never know.”
Dr. Jason Moser is a psychology and neuroscience professor at Michigan State University. He said Morris’ reaction -- along with those in Orlando -- are biologically ingrained in our DNA.
“We’re all built to be on this planet to stay alive,” Moser said. “It’s just natural that those around an extremely scary incident like this -- as well as those who hear about it -- we know that shortly after an event like that, people become more hyper vigilant.”
Moser said people can do who are impacted in this way should do things to take care of themselves mentally.
“Don’t shy away from talking about it, but also don’t feel like you have to get into it right away. I would say it’s not until more than a couple of months, if you’re really still struggling with this, that would be the time to get on the horn and call somebody for some help,” Moser said. “But in those first few weeks, the most important factors are staying socially connected with friends and loved ones.”
Moser said it’s perfectly normal to have bad dreams that relate to the shootings, but it’s important to be open and honest about your thoughts with family and friends. If the anxiety, or a sense of sadness is interrupting your daily life, contact your doctor or a mental health professional.
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