Karen Mohatt, March 24, 2021
A day after the latest shooting and tragedy in Boulder, CO I was thankful to still be home-officing because my office is only 4 blocks from that King Sooper’s Store. I used to go to the Starbucks located inside for coffee or tea. Boulder does have a small town feel to it, much like Lincoln did as well. Boulderites think of themselves as living in a bubble of peace, love, care of the environment, conscientiousness of health, and are very forward thinking. But Monday, the bubble burst as unbelievable horror visited the city of 100,000.
All day Tuesday, my patients spoke of shock, profound grief, sadness and deep fear. But most troubling was how they didn’t speak of disbelief. Rather, they spoke of the violence in our country becoming as prevalent as Covid-19. Most everyone follows the public health guidelines, with the exception of some, and are now grateful they’ve received or will receive the vaccine. But yesterday they kept talking about fears of violence and being unable to inoculate themselves against it. I’m sure I will hear much the same from my patients today and tomorrow. They fear violence from external sources and we will at some point have to talk about the violence they feel internally as well, as their own peace and safety has been stripped away in one horrific act. Those with a history of significant trauma who work so hard on a daily basis to feel some semblance of safety, have once again been activated by this tragedy.
By the time I finished with my patients last night, I found myself literally sick to my stomach. Though working through Zoom, every emotion my patients felt was just so palpable, and I could feel the pain they experienced in the wake of such trauma, and my own vulnerability in the aftermath of such senseless tragedy.
Karen Sharer-Mohatt, PsyD Psychoanalyst