To be completely honest, I have written and rewritten this post several times, adding and removing entire paragraphs, and then starting all over again
I know I don't know and I will never know. But, silence clearly isn’t the solution either. I can’t sit silently at the side lines and then claim to be a safe person, safe practitioner, or trauma-informed anything if I don’t include BIPOC into my value and mission statements. Period.
In early May I shared a post about Adverse Childhood Experiences and the effects that trauma can have on individuals and family members
In the trauma field, it is well known that trauma affects our brain, immune system, hormonal system, and how our DNA is transcribed becomes interrupted
When I learned about Trauma from a brain chemistry and development perspective, I can honestly say my whole life changed. I began to think in a completely different way than I had before. Half of me began to question everything I had been taught, I also began to question myself and my own biases and the other half of me already knew this information, however, I just knew it intuitively. In trauma work, You no longer consider what someone has done and start to consider what a person has been through instead
For example, drug misuse. I had the concept of addiction in my mind and didn’t hold value judgments towards those who suffered from that disease. What I didn’t know that there are no individuals who suffer from substance misuse that has not experienced some sort of (early) traumatic experience.
Consider that for a moment. That person you call a drunk, a pothead, a drug addict, over weight, promiscuous, a bad friend, parent, or partner, etc, these individuals have all suffered from trauma in their life and what we believe to be character "flaws" are actually the effects of trauma on the body and emotions.
Ain't that some sh*t
Now, we already know that our DNA is interrupted when Adverse Childhood Experiences occur. Meaning, when individuals repeatedly experience complex trauma’s, including systemic and systematic racism, discrimination, and overt and implicit biases, DNA transcribes those traumatic experiences and is passed down through generations
Trauma is written in our DNA
That is science
So, why isn't it well known?
We know that smoking is bad and causes breathing-related illnesses, but why don’t we know that trauma is bad and causes trauma-related illnesses - and why don’t we consider that BIPOC suffer from these illnesses as well - probably at a higher rate than any other race or group of people
But, Tina, maybe it’s because this is a concept that we hadn’t been studying because we weren’t really aware? Something we are just getting to right now….
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In 1966 they began to discover the effects of trauma on survivors of war. In the early 1970’s Bessel Van Der Kolk began studying the field of Neuroscience and PTSD
The 70’s. It’s 2020 - So, time isn’t a factor here, is it?
Even research has to catch up. 50 years and still not common knowledge
Let’s help stop this madness
Trauma and trauma-related illnesses are exacerbated when stories are not listened to and the pain is not believed. We know this
SO WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY ISN’T THIS TALKED ABOUT MORE
Imagine how tiring it would be to be dismissed for hundreds of years. Literally, imagine
Or even worse
Imagine how you would feel right now if you knew that your Grandparents were enslaved, if your children were stolen from you, and if your life was literally deemed as worthless.
I know exactly how you all would feel because I would feel the same way
Dr. Joy DeGruy has a quick but impactful interview you can watch about Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and I invite all of my friends to watch this video to help us understand a little more about what has been going on and what we can do now
A friend sent me this video and I am so glad she did - it is a great way to think about bigger issues and began to discuss them with others
In the clip, Dr. DeGruy states “The healing isn’t within a clinical setting - it's with Social Justice and Change '' To me, that means it’s our job to get to work, check ourselves and our biases and ask why we might have a judgment towards another person who doesn't look like us
Stop taking everything so personally, stop crying out loud while not implementing any changes in your life
Just talking and saying Black Lives Matter is not enough. Social Justice and Changes is where the healing really lies, Dr. Joy DeGruy
Change is scary, but, you know what is scarier? People Dying
Re-watch this video and reconsider the idea of trauma and fear being written into our DNA when Dr. DeGuay discusses appropriate adaptation and how trauma and fear are written into our DNA
I’m not here to teach - that’s not my space and I never want to pretend it is or I can - but I can ask you to watch this video and reconsider how you look at trauma and expand that lens of scope and practice to 400 years of enslavement - with no support, help, interventions, or real change and no one listening. Still. We aren't listening
It’s 2020 and we can’t even hear others' experiences without disregarding them and saying that they don’t happen or there is somehow justification for what is happening and has been happening over hundreds of years
Let’s grow some thicker skin and take accountability when we are wrong instead of becoming defensive, emotional, and punitive as a means of distracting from the real issues that we are dealing with in these historical moments
This is history right now, what side do you want to be on?