Anger, frustration, a sense of helplessness, depression, overwhelming fear. Mental health experts say people in Boston should expect to feel a range of those emotions over the next few days as they try to process the horrors of Monday’s Marathon bombing and the frantic search for the perpetrators.
There’s often no way to predict how a person will cope with a traumatic event such as a terrorist attack, but Wynn Schwartz, a professor of psychology at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, said it’s helpful to have people to share feelings with, whether a close friend, loved one, or professional counselor.
It may take weeks or months for those who were injured or have a loved one who was hurt to work through painful feelings triggered by the attack. Loved ones can provide emotional support and make sure the affected person is eating and sleeping, but they should not pressure anyone to talk about the events until that person is ready, Schwartz advised.
Sharon-based psychotherapist Karen Ruskin emphasized that it’s important for those who weren’t directly affected by the attack to put events in perspective. “Be mindful of what you’re feeling and allow yourself to experience the sadness and fear,” she said, “but then go about your day and feel gratitude for those good things that you have in your life.”