Published On: June 30, 2024Categories: Articles, Blog, Essays845 words3.2 min read

Fear and Trauma: Noticing Signs of PTSD After Another Mass Shooting and 12 Tips to Help 

June 30, 2024

This month’s blog is dedicated to the victims of the recent splash pad shooting in Rochester Hills, Michigan. May you heal swiftly and have the resources you need to fully recover and to feel safe. 


In the wake of yet another mass shooting, my PTSD is back in full swing. The shooting happened only miles from my house. And my mind and body have not been settled ever since.

When I first heard the news, I cried. Because of the victims. The sadness. The heaviness. The evil. Then I cried the next day. And the one after that. 

It brought back memories of my own trauma, and I began having nightmares of men trying to kill me. And my fear was ever present once again.

It took me a few days to realize what was happening. I felt scattered. Erratic. Unsettled. I couldn’t close my eyes without envisioning it. I either overslept or couldn’t sleep at all. Every noise had me startled. Every change in pattern had me on edge. Even sitting outside with my daughter early in the morning, I found myself scoping out corners. Jumping at the slightest sound. Ready to fight or flee. 

At night, I checked the locks on the doors multiple times. Reviewed my escape plan in my head. Thinking of what I’d do if someone broke into my house. What I would do if someone was after us. How I would get my baby, my husband and myself to safety. 

My stomach was in knots. I was bloated. Had no appetite. Overate from stress and felt sick. I even once awoke ready to throw up because I’d been gagging in my sleep. 

Days later, I tried to take my daughter to the park with my husband, but I had to turn around and go home. All I could think of was where I’d run if someone opened fire. How I’d get my baby out of harm’s way. 

Once I noticed the familiar signs of PTSD, I was able to start helping myself feel better. And if you experience PTSD, I hope one of these tips helps you feel better too:

  1. Meditate. It only needs to be five minutes, but find a way to soothe your nervous system. For more on meditation, click here.
  2. Use magnesium. I take Epsom salt baths and magnesium supplements and spray magnesium oil on my sore muscles. All of it helps relax my nervous system. 
  3. Write. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, journal your thoughts. It is how you will hear yourself. It will help you sort through your thoughts and find clarity. Keep in mind you can write on your phone too. For more tips on journaling, read here
  4. Be in nature. Even though it might be hard to be out of your house, try to go for walks. Sit outside. Breathe. Connect. 
  5. Drink plenty of water. It will help you flush out toxins, restore your muscles and stay hydrated.
  6. Find ways to relax. If you’re experiencing PTSD, your nervous system is in overdrive, and it’s important to find ways to relax. For me, this means having alone time, watching my shows and going to bed early. 
  7. Use a heavy blanket. I got mine from Target. It’s 25 pounds, and it relieves my nervous system like nothing else. I use it for 10 minutes, and I’m good to go. 
  8. Do what brings you joy. Time with my daughter and husband brings me joy, so I’m with them every chance I have. And I sing. I am by no means a singer, but singing brings me joy. So I sing when I cook, when I clean, when I drive and just about any time I get the chance to. 
  9. Share your feelings with others. I talk to my husband, family and friends about my feelings on a regular basis, but when I’m experiencing PTSD, I find it especially important. Sometimes even just saying my feeling out loud is cathartic. 
  10. Reach out to others. Check on them to make sure they’re okay. Tell them you love them. Connect with them. Give and receive hugs: they help relieve your nervous system. 
  11. Seek professional help. I’ve been working with my psychotherapist for over a decade, and she helps me reframe my thoughts. Getting professional guidance is part of what changed my life for the better. And it could help you too if you ever feel anxious, depressed, lost or out of control. 
  12. Acknowledge your need to grieve. Even if you haven’t directly experienced a loss, recognizing your need to grieve is important. You can still feel sad, angry, anxious and depressed. You may still need to go through the phases of grief in order to heal and let go. 

However you cope with PTSD, may you feel settled within yourself, get help when you need it and feel safe. 


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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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