The events of yesterday (January 6th) have been bothering me a lot, and other than them being shocking, I wasn’t quite sure why I was so bothered until I did some reflection.
Some of you may not know this, but I was born and raised in the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago.
30 years ago, as a child, I witnessed an attempted coup in the parliament in Trinidad.
I still remember seeing the images on my TV.
My brothers and I were watching cartoons and our regularly scheduled programming was interrupted to report that gunmen had stormed in while parliament was in session.
Videos were shown of elected officials ducking under chairs as they feared for their lives.
I remember being afraid and wondering if my Dad was ok, since he worked in the country’s capital.
Fast forward several years and I was on a mission trip in Thailand (the same trip where I met Apple and Rose).
My team and I were heading to the red-light district to befriend victims of human trafficking when we learned that a coup had begun and a curfew was set.
We had to quickly return home.
The images of Thai military in riot gear are still seared on my brain.
I realized that the images of yesterday’s events in the US Capitol were not just shocking for me, they were familiar, traumatic and sad.
Sometimes we don’t realize how traumatic and triggering national events can be until we are faced with them.
Trauma can often take up residence in our bodies that can later manifest as physical symptoms.
In working with human trafficking survivors, we are always mindful about operating in ways that are sensitive to the traumas they’ve experienced.
Today I’m tuning out the news and focusing on practicing ways to deal with the recent trauma.
I wanted to share some of those ways with you:
- Pause – sometimes we are so consumed with the information coming at us that we are not tuned in to how it’s affecting us. Pausing helps us to become more attuned.
- Breathe – when we’re anxious we tend to take shallow breaths. Consciously focusing on breathing deeply helps to calm us.
- Pray – praying/meditating reminds us that we are not alone in what we are experiencing. I believe in God, so praying reminds me to release the things I can’t control to him. Whatever your belief system, remember that feelings of isolation can cause us to experience deeper levels of trauma.
- Talk – talk to a trusted friend or therapist. If after some prolonged time, you find that it’s difficult for you to engage or perhaps perform at work or at home, please seek out a resources.
Hopefully, you find one or all of these helpful. How do you handle traumatic events? If you have other tips feel free to reply and let me know your thoughts.