I'd like to, you know, since we're also you and I catching up ourselves as friends, not just doing an interview Red Lotus. She has, it's really, really great to see you and I'd like to share an experience maybe in the last Category. I don't want to give it a capital T. But I've had a new experience and I've never passed through this type of shift in myself. I don't think an acquaintance. I don't say friend, but someone I know I had a horrible family tragedy not long ago. His teenage daughter was killed in a head-on collision with a large truck like a Mack truck. And for reasons that I don't think we're necessarily. And her car just swerved ever. So slightly into the oncoming Lane and dead on impact. And since that news, I get exposed to tragedies every day. I mean, if you look at the news, you buy the newspaper, man, their tragedy is everywhere. So I don't know why this had such a disproportionate, a disproportionate, but such a large impact, when I'm exposed to tragedy of other types all day long, but I have had had extreme anxiety. While driving, almost every day, since that happened, right? I can understand that. Yeah, and I don't want to take necessarily an anxiety lytic just to mute the anxiety, or to suppress the symptom. But in a case like this, just because perhaps it's maybe easier to tackle than something like the childhood abuse that I experienced when I was really young. How might someone approached this with her without professional help. And maybe this isn't the Forum in which to discuss it, but I'd love to hear any thoughts. You might have because I've never experienced anything like this before, Tim. I think it's a great forum for it because it speaks to a common problem and a general principle in approaching the problem. We have to divert our attention from our instability and the unpredictability. Woody of the world around us like a nun, some level like we know that the kind of Anything could happen and we're not safe from moment to moment from tragedy, but we have to sort of set that aside where it's kind of in the periphery of our mind. And that's what lets us be able to go on and like live our lives and things will happen. Sometimes that really resonate with a person. Now here it may be that something makes you really identify. If I with this person, even though they're in acquaintances and say, not one of your closest friends, or it just may be that something about the story or even something about your own condition. Right? The fertile ground inside your mind. When you hear the story, that makes it resonates with you. And then in this, like that's a very classic aspect of vicarious trauma, then it resonates and you feel as if like that's happened, you get some shadowing of, like, what that must feel like for that person. And then it shakes your sense of stability and predictability and its ability to control the world around you and be safe and that starts making you feel insecure vulnerable. Like it's a natural response. And the thing to do about it is to validate it. That's why the primary point. I would say in response is to validate it because what people most often do is the opposite. It's unpleasant. It feels so bad that the person wants it. So there's something wrong with me. Why am I feeling this way? Sway about this like it didn't happen to me. This is one of my someone in my close family like is and we try and to somehow invalidate what you're experiencing instead of saying no, it's understandable. This is reminding. You of something that you do actually know is true but is bringing it to the Forefront of your Consciousness, the vulnerability, the unpredictability difficulty, controlling the world. And if we validate that and realize okay, I'm not learning anything new from this, but I'm feeling something very strongly and I want to honor that I'm feeling That and then to be able to put words to it with the someone that you know and trust and to be able to say that helps to pay down some of the anxiety and distress. It often gets worse. If the person is trying to shove it down and invalidate his what's wrong with me? That I'm feeling this way. They just grows that tension inside. Yeah, right? That makes perfect sense to me. I mean you have sort of a catalyzing event and then you have So let's just call that one. I hesitate to use this term like one problem. And then if you have a very self-defeating but self critical, judgmental response to it. Now you have another, like I've quite another problem. As I'm thinking about this. I haven't really spoken to anyone about this but I recall at the time because you have me wondering like why did I respond to this in this way? And I think that the circumstances temporarily right? The circumstances at the time had a lot to do with it. I think a number of very difficult unexpected things that happened in my life. I then also got the news in a somewhat. I don't want to say frantic but very urgent text from a mutual friend. And of this acquaintance and when I called there's some type of help that I was potentially being asked to provide and I couldn't provide it and so see I found it very jarring in that respect. So I wanted to share that as an opportunity for discussion. If I could say back to him that makes him a think about the sense of vulnerability and in the sense of I can't even do anything to help. There's such a sense of vulnerability that then gets reinforced by that and often people. You want to help even when like, there is nothing someone can do to help, and then the person feels bad. They can't make anything better make. The person feel better. And that adds to, that sense of Terror, really? If we should validate within ourselves. I'm doing what I can do. Like, I can be here for this person that I can listen. I can let them cry or be upset around me like, that is what there is to do, then that can take away from this sense of desperation, and vulnerability. And I want to help, but I can't because Is that critical voice that you referenced is very, very common in people who are conscientious, which is, you know, most people are conscientious people capable of feeling someone else's pain. So that critical voice comes to the fore so readily, it's reflexive right? Which is where the shame comes from and there's a whole Cascade of as you said, secondary problems to the initial negative thing or the initial problem. Thank you for listening and for talking through it.
An Acquaintance's Daughter Was Killed in a Head-On Collision; How Should Tim Cope?
#533: Paul Conti, MD How Trauma Works and How to Heal From It