Nothing knocks the wind out of your travel plans like having a national tragedy occur at your next destination.
That is my current situation. I have a scheduled “Conquer” trip to Las Vegas 10/6/17 which was planned way before the active shooter tragedy earlier this week.
At first I was numb, anxious, and full of self talk. A common response to such an egregious act of hate and harm to others. I was confused, angry, and saddened by the harm to innocent people.
1. It’s insensitive to go. I cannot enjoy myself with the city still coping. It’s wrong.
2. Logical and illogical fear. Initially I was caught up in what ifs. What if it occurs again? I’m going to a large event, what if, what if.
3. It’s just too terrible.
However, I also have a logical and therapeutic side due to training and conversations with peers, so I counter acted my cognitive distortions and negative thoughts.
1. Perhaps it’s meant to be to go.
My close friend noted the “rise” event we were already planning to attend was appropriate to write positive comments and release the tragedy in the candle lanterns. This was a valid point.
2. Many cities, like Las Vegas thrive off of tourism. In fact, most of their tourist dollars come from California visitors. This would be appropriate to help them keep the city and resources going, rather than harming their industry.
3. What ifs never paid the rent.
A what if can be anything, but any good therapist will tell you: it’s not fact. What are the facts? What are the chances it occurs again? I don’t want to be the person who lets fear and anxiety control my life.
4. Play it smart and kind.
Although I have been to Las Vegas over a dozen times, I can sense this time will be different. After sleeping on it a few days, and more rational self-talk I’m going. I’m thinking we may donate blood to help, send out positive thoughts through the rise event (I’ll post on that later), and be a listening ear to civilians as people cope with the trauma.
The fact of the matter is, the closer you are to the trauma the more likely you will experience it (Acute Stress Disorder or PTSD).
Deciding to travel somewhere after something horrific has occurred is not an easy choice. It’s a personal choice. For me, this means using my training and enjoying the comfort and stability my visit will bring to Las Vegas.
Vegas, I’m with you.