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Dealing With Sudden Loss

Amid the tragedies devastating California, an important topic comes to mind. It is not one that is easy to discuss, but nevertheless important; particularly if it is happening to you or someone you are close to. We are talking about Sudden Grief; as in the unexpected loss of a loved one and the extreme reactions that tend to follow.

Two cases that come to mind are the tragic Borderline shooting in Thousand Oaks and the Woolsey Fire that has been wreaking havoc in Malibu. In both instances multiple lives were lost, creating a ripple grief effect for thousands of Californians.

CNN covered this topic not too long ago (sadly because of the increase of mass shootings), pointing out that the loved ones of murder or accident victims tend to have suicidal thoughts themselves. Self-destructiveness is another common trait, which can lead to drug or alcohol abuse in the wake of a tragedy.

The key here, especially when a close person dies in a violent way, is acknowledging the trauma that tends to accompany the grief. That, in itself, creates an entirely different mourning process than you would experience if it was a slower, expected death.

“The people who go through this, they’re not just dealing with loss. They’re also dealing with personal traumatization,” clinical psychologist Therese Rando told the site. “It affects the ability to get on with grief and mourning, to bend your mind around what has transpired. There is no warning, no time to prepare and gradually start to take on the notion.”
The typical “five stages of grief” (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) also get thrown out of the window in these situations, replaced by emotions like shock and anxiety. Coping with these feelings is no easy task and professional support is always recommended during these difficult times.
Interestingly enough, destinations like message boards and Reddit have become helpful coping mechanisms during times of sudden loss. Working as support groups do (which we also recommend), these types of outlets allow you get in touch with others who may have gone through similar experiences. Back when 9/11 occurred, for example, entire Facebook Groups were created as a destination for loved ones of those lost to unite.
We at Inneractions are also readily available if you’re having a tough time coping with these recent California events. As CNN’s piece emphasized, the important thing to acknowledge is that you’re not alone and things can be better.