GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - As if people weren't already dealing with the fear of when to feel safe going back out in public during this pandemic, Wednesday night's shooting at Westgate in Glendale was a stark reminder of a fear many had forgotten about: shootings.

So what's the best way to deal with these feelings and sort through them to feel OK going out again? A Phoenix psychologist said there is a way to help adjust your mindset. She said many Arizonans may be struggling mentally the day after the shooting.

“My neighbor could have COVID, and I could get shot if I go to the movies or go to a restaurant. That’s overwhelming,” said Melissa Estavillo.

westgate shooting

Only a few days into the reopening of businesses, a man opened fire at Westgate.

Estavillo is a licensed psychologist in Phoenix and said the man who shot three people at the Westgate Entertainment District Wednesday night, with the intent to shoot more, just complicated internal healing so many people in Arizona have been working on.

“This is really even more difficult because it keeps reiterating this fear we have that the world is not safe and not predictable,” she said.

But Estavillo said it's important to go through a mental process of your own, to process what's happening in the world. The first step is to understand it’s OK to feel these emotions and not beat yourself up about it.

“It’s very human to be afraid. It’s very human to be worried and concerned," she said.

She said many are now dealing with what she calls "decision fatigue."

“They’re feeling like they have the responsibility of making the right decision and have no idea what the right decision is, and then the shooting made it even more complicated to make that decision,” she said.

She said step two is evaluating the decision to do something or go somewhere, with the best information you have at the time, as it's impossible to have all the answers during this unprecedented time.

She said step three is to forgive yourself if things don’t go right.

“If it turns out to be the wrong thing to do, I can’t beat myself up about it because I made it based on the best information that I had,” Estavillo said.

She said going through that process will help make going back out in public feel less scary. Estavillo also said isolation likely hasn't helped those who may have violent thoughts on their mind, so she said it's important to talk about your emotions and talk to people if you're struggling, rather than internalize it.


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