How to Stay Healthy when Black Lives Don't Matter

Self-Compassion Nugget #3

When I see yet another email about the killing of a Black human being; when I see yet another video on Facebook about a Black woman being threatened; when I am asked to sign yet another online petition asking the Justice Dept. to protect Black children--I feel like throwing up, raging, and crying.

You, too might be feeling this way.  In fact you might experience post-traumatic stress disorder--if you don't take steps to care for yourself.

This Washington Post article warns about the vicarious trauma experienced as we encounter degradation of Black life on our social media feeds.

A Black psychologist recommends unplugging for a while if you start to get overwhelmed.  

I urge you to go a step further.

Please write out how you feel.  Just set a timer and write without stopping, editing, arguing, censoring.

I did this and found out that the societal violence against Black women and girls was triggering my old wounds.  The video of the police and Sandra Bland and the photos of the young teen who was thrown to the ground in a two-piece bathing suit while the policeman put his knee in her back and pulled her hair hurt. They took me back emotionally to times when my voice did not matter, when my "No" was ignored, when I could not breathe.  I let this free association flow onto the page.

Writing it out gives us a chance to bear witness to our experience and to comfort ourselves. After I wrote, I recorded myself reading it.  Later, I shared it with Michael. Later still, I began to share it with two friends after meditating.  I prayed for guidance.  And it got lighter.  I didn't have to share the whole thing.

Now I'm going to work on it as a spoken word performance piece called #Say Her Name.  Here's a snippet.

The first step is to care for yourself and notice what is happening in you.  You may choose to stay away from social media or the news for a while.  Write out your feelings--not about your feelings.  Share with someone(s) you trust.

In these traumatic times we must know what's going on AND we must care for ourselves.  Let's not mirror this larger society's degradation of Black life.  Let's tend to ourselves.  

Here's something else you can do!

Peace and Love,
Dr. Amanda

Please share or comment.  Let me know how you are faring in these TRYING TIMES! #blacklivesmatter  #togetherwestand