While walking my dog about 2 months ago I stumbled upon a new neighbor talking to one of my friends in our community garden. I stopped to introduce myself and catch up on the weekly neighborhood scuttlebutt only to find myself seated a pleasant 6 feet away as we discussed bigger and heavier issues such as COVID-19 and the protests downtown. In talking about the protests I started to discuss how we had seen a rise at the office in PTSD symptoms in those that had been at a protest. To my surprise the new neighbor became quite adamant that there was no way a protest, in any way shape or form, could lead to PTSD. She was insistent that getting thrown in jail unjustly was “just what comes with the territory of protesting.”
I was shocked.
The notion that PTSD is “fake news” or is only real if you have gone to war is so old school and foreign to me that I really didn’t think that mindset was still around… But alas it was.
Trauma is any experience of threat, disconnection, or immobilization that results in the dysregulation of your mental, emotional, spiritual or bodily health. The list on how it can manifest is long but some examples are self-harm, insomnia, ADHD or anxiety. It puts you in survival mode and disables your ability to thrive. It disconnects you.
Let me say that again-it disconnects you.
We are just starting to identify, learn and understand the trauma our nation has faced this year. As a collective, we have all be weathering the storm but in different ways. We have all been faced with unique challenges and I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk to someone. Go to therapy. Talk to a best friend. Talk to a Pastor, Priest or Shaman-they were around long before a therapist was! Did I mention you should probably be in therapy? The only way out is through. It is hard. It is grueling. Healing will come. Connection will come. Take that journey with someone instead of doing it alone.
These lyrics made a place in my heart the minute I heard them. They are all too relevant now.
“If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
May your past be the sound of your
feet upon the ground
Carry on, carry one