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Sharing Grief, Shock Worldwide on Message Boards

continued...

However, he cautions, don't rely solely on message boards for advice. "Anyone having signs of anxiety or depression -- serious sleep or weight changes, inability to experience pleasure or a heightened startle response, inability to take care of activities of daily living -- should seek professional help," Feinberg says.

And "anyone directly affected by this tragedy should seek professional counseling," he tells WebMD.

Such tragedies have a ripple effect that extends further than might seem obvious, says Feinberg. "Maybe there's an 8-year-old girl living in Cleveland. Her father may be a firefighter. On TV they're talking about firefighters. He's been gone a few days, hasn't come home yet. She doesn't understand what's going on.

"The effects of trauma can be immense, and can drastically change way of life," says Feinberg. "Kids are very perceptive. When there's no karate practice, when mom and dad are acting different, they know things aren't right."

Go to message boards, to chat rooms, "to check in, get your bearings," then move on, Haun tells WebMD. "At some point, you need to turn outward, look beyond yourself, find ways to help like donating blood. When you get to that other-centered orientation, then you're in a healthier mode."

A Glimpse at the Message Boards

But what about the messages themselves, as the smoke cleared and the death toll mounted? Here are just a few posted messages, which likely mirror thoughts around the world.

First, there was shock and grief:

QMOTO1 (AOL): I worked in the Trade Center and lost at least 50 to 100 of my co-workers and close friends. At first I saw people jumping out of the buildings and could wonder why, but now I feel like I should have done the same. Why am I so lucky to have survived?

Louise92 (WebMD): To watch that much death, terror, and devastation is so unreal to me. I sit here in the comfort of my home and watch thousands of people die. I watch and am helpless, and I can't even give blood because of lupus and because I have had cancer.

MissyDea in Australia (WebMD): I personally feel grief-stricken, as do all Australians, for this could have happened to us.

Hopefullymom in India (WebMD): It was horrifying to watch the news and read the newspapers today. We are shell-shocked that there are human beings who can think such evil. Don't they have families, children, wives?

Younginpain (WebMD): It is not only the people whose family and friends were killed or injured in these attacks who are affected, but the entire nation. Today was the largest attack on American soil. We have survived through many tragedies, and as a nation we will get through this as well.

Lpablowiberg (AOL): Yesterday, as our entire Nation stood at a stand still, I asked God to help us all. I felt deep pain for all the innocent people who lost their lives and I could not control my tears. I felt numb and the pain overwhelmed me.

Louise92 (WebMD): I am sitting at work, feeling lost and horrified. The stories of people jumping from the buildings, the magnitude of the loss of lives and peace of mind for the American people. The incidents just kept happening. I saw the live feed of the plane crashing into the second tower. I saw the horror written on faces of everyone here. I want to crawl in a hole and cry for the world.

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