October 1, 2017, changed affected almost every single person who lived in Las Vegas — not to mention the countless lives who were touched across the world from the tourists and their families, to those injured or killed and their families.
As we approach October 1, 2018, and remember that horrific day, we may find ourselves struggling with how to deal with the emotions of ourselves or friends and family involved in the incident.
Here are a few tips:
Everyone reacts differently — there's no right or wrong way to do it. There is not a "cookbook" way to handle an anniversary of trauma; however, in our experience, we encourage you to remember the things we talk about in the immediate aftermath of trauma and apply those to the anniversary date.
Reach out. If you are affected by or know someone who is affected — simply reach out. You can say things like, "I know you were at the event, is this anniversary hard for you?" or "I want you to know I've been thinking about you. How are you doing as the anniversary of 1 October approaches?" If you are the person who is affected by this event, talk to someone you trust or who will understand you. This can be summed up by listening to someone who needs it and talking it out if it it's bothering you.
Commemorate, if you want to. Figure out if you would like to participate in a memorial or remembrance ceremony. If you do, there are plenty of options across the valley that you can participate in. If you do not have a desire to, that's okay, again, there's no right or wrong way to do it.
You're not crazy. No matter what your involvement in the shooting was, you may feel a spike in emotions as the year anniversary comes. There's an increase in media coverage, social media posts, and overall conversation. If you do not feel as affected as you thought — that's okay. If you are more affected than you thought — that's also okay.
Take a deep breath. Take care of yourself and practice good self-care, whatever that looks like for you. Cry if you need to cry, talk if you need to talk, or treat yourself to a massage, church gathering, nice dinner, or something similar.
Seek support. If you feel you need professional counseling or support, the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center has put together resources for you. Click here to see the many options you have.
In closing, we are all going to have different reactions and feelings towards this event. Give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling and try not to minimize your feelings or emotions. The saying "you'll get over it" is not only false but highly misleading. Will you be okay? Most likely, as statistics have shown when it comes to mass-casualty incidents, but you will also find a new normal and a new way to live.
Together, we are #VegasStrong.