When Will I Get Back to Normal?

After the shock and grief over the 9/11 attacks, people are wondering whether they'll be able to regain their 'old selves.'

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Despite the fact that I've lost no one personally in the recent tragedies, I live and work very near Dulles Airport and the Pentagon and have felt like my personal world has been turned upside down. I was actually happy to hear the constant, often-too-loud presence of airplane noise return to the airport, though that was quickly followed by a sense of foreboding about what my neighbors, who work for the airlines, are facing.

Then there are the constant images on the television and on the Internet about terrorism and suffering and war, and people in my own community are arguing and turning on each other as they express their opinions about what the future holds, sometimes attacking U.S. foreign policy and blaming our country for recent events.

I am a community leader and don't know how to lead under these circumstances. I feel like the world has gone crazy, and it is especially frightening knowing that I have been no more burdened by recent events than anyone else, and that I am a generally strong person who is normally well-balanced emotionally.


How long will it take to return to my usual optimistic, loving self? Where has it gone, and why, exactly?


Your email so clearly articulates what so many people are feeling. That's why I want to post this. It will help others just to read it.

To answer your question about when and if your essential optimism and belief in human goodness will return, I say, "yes, of course it will, and it won't take so long to reappear." We are self-regulating organisms, after all, and we tend to return to our basic natures and paths, after unusual side-trips.

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