Love and Loss in Orlando — The Practical Side

It is hard to believe that almost two months have passed since a gunman ended the lives of 49 victims at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Our community is sad, upset, confused and still wrestling with why this tragedy took place–the largest mass shooting in recent history. As we grieve together, I think there are a few important things to remember during this difficult time in our community’s history.

First, let me express that we at Life Enhancement Counseling Services stand as an ally and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. We honor all of those who were killed or injured and are here to help and support all people suffering with mental and emotional trauma in the wake of this loss. We also know the loss and sadness felt from this tragedy is vast and far reaching, stretching far beyond the LGBTQ community. If you are currently experiencing such feelings of loss and sadness, here are some practical things you can do to help manage your emotions and function from day-to-day.

  1. Time:  allow time to reflect and process what happened. Whether it is “sitting with your thoughts and feelings,” journaling, or joining a local support group—give yourself time to think about what happened and fully experience your feelings as they surface.
  2. Support:  find a support person or group. Spend regular time with a trusted friend or members of your support system. If you do not have a support system, make an appointment with a counselor. And, if you are wanting a group experience—look for a local support group.
  3. Self-care:  Take care of yourself. Eat well, drink water, get enough sleep and try to exercise a few times a week.  Use positive coping skills to deal with feelings of anxiety, depression and grief. If you lack positive coping skills, see a counselor who will help you identify and implement positive coping skills that will help you through this challenging life season.
  4. Remembering and honoring others:  Identify and implement meaningful ways to honor those lost. It can be something simple like journaling each day or something larger like organizing an event to raise awareness for members of the LGBTQ community and their families.
  5. One Day at a Time:  Time does not heal all wounds, but it does slowly soften the rough edges of loss and grief.  I like to say that “every day is a new day.” Give yourself plenty of time and remember that there will be good days and bad days. Try to focus on the current day and not feel overwhelmed thinking about the future since in most ways it is beyond our control anyway.

I will write more about this loss in our great city of Orlando in the personal piece on this blog.  But for now, please know that Life Enhancement Counseling Services stands with and supports every person affected by this tragedy. We are here to help you navigate all of the challenging emotions that emerge in the wake of such loss. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to speak with an experienced counselor.


Yolanda Brailey