As a social change advocate, you may notice feelings of anger, sadness, isolation, and utter confusion when you watch the news or scroll through social media. You may feel emotionally and physically exhausted yet driven to keep pushing forward to fight for justice and equality because you care for the rights of others and may have experienced various forms of discrimination yourself. But those who provide care and support need a space to feel cared for and supported as well.
As a therapist, I understand how oppressive systems impact mental health. And as a woman of color, I have experienced the toll discrimination can take on the body and the mind. But therapy can help! Let's explore how your trauma history, your efforts, and today's social and political climate are impacting you.
The images and stories on TV and the internet and various language and acts in the community can be both disturbing in and of themselves and serve as a reminder of racism/discrimination, injustice, or other forms of oppression you've experienced throughout your life. There may be times in which you are fully aware that what you are seeing is a reminder of your painful past, while in other instances it may be difficult to name why you are feeling triggered. Through therapy, we can tap into, explore, and process the painful memories and negative beliefs tied to them.
Experiencing secondary trauma?
Secondary trauma occurs when individuals are not directly experiencing a traumatic event, yet they are hearing stories or consuming information about a traumatic event. The negative effects of secondary trauma impact the brain and body the same way as those experiencing a trauma directly. This may include intrusive imagery, feeling hyper-aroused in your body, and experiencing distressing or overwhelming emotions. Therapy can help to calm the nervous system and restore feelings of safety in your body.
How's your self-care?
The cost of caring for others can come at the expense of your own self care. Sometimes caring for yourself can feel selfish, especially when there is so much work to be done. But you have to put on your own oxygen mask first in order to help others! If you're feeling hopeless, powerless, and burned out, therapy is a safe space for you to recharge and promote balance in your life.