Processing trauma

Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
We are exposed to traumatic images and bombarded with disturbing truths about our society at a on going basis. What are the effects of this ongoing trauma and what happens if we are exposed to traumatic images over and over again without properly processing past trauma?
I’m no psychologist so I don’t know the official answer to those questions, however I  can evaluate myself and I can talk to others and read material to gather enough to make a pretty good conclusion.
Trauma that has not been processed on top of a diet of new traumatic images daily is harmful and at the very least unhealthy for you.
web Dubois
Processing trauma is putting words and emotions to it and making meaning of it. This process is usually undertaken with a counselor or therapist in group and/or individual therapy. It might not be necessary or required to spend a lot of time in this phase.

Trauma is stored somatically, that is, in the body. Its most disruptive consequences play out in sensory networks, the nervous system, and the vagus nerve that connect many parts of the body including the brain and the gut. We have to involve all of those systems to get to the root of trauma.

Trauma puts survivors on constant high alert, a survival response useful to protect against additional trauma. But this sense of alertness also blocks access to the deep roots of trauma in the body.

Traumatic memories reside as frozen experiences within. They take away spontaneity, one of the most important resources for survivors in moving on. – according to :

Trauma is complex in its impacts, and therefore treatment needs to be complex as well. In a gradual way, we need to strengthen various aspects of a survivor’s well-being: emotional, physical, cognitive, spiritual and social.


So it should be of no surprise that watching people murdered over and over again is a “deeply distressing and disturbing experience”. It also hurts our “processing of trauma” when we express our discomfort for these traumatic images and the reality that creates them only to be met with contradictory rebuttals and a dismissal of our concerns.

The public stage presents a narrative that says : there is no trauma because there is no injustice or wrong doing the public stage sometimes conveys a total denial to unfair and unjustified killings thus dismissing your being harmed by the images and the reality of them.

To even say Black Lives Matter is to be contested and picked apart by the world stage to nullify the reality of injustice visited upon Black people therefore avoiding the actual sentiment for the phrase in the first place.

If you think there is no trauma and PTSD from slavery and the terror visited upon our ancestors and then the following jim crow reality that our grandparents lived through your misinformed. If you think the images of a man dying from violent acts committed by the police force over and over again and then the denial of there being any wrong doing by the dominant society  having no effect on you your naive.

We need to properly process our trauma and to do that we have to create safe places and our safe place may be to unplug from social media as to stop any further images of violence from adding to our trauma. We need a circle of people who understand and care about you and will not explain away your reactions to these disturbing images. We should express how we feel about the society we live in and the injustices that produce these disturbing and deeply distressful images.

We have to process our trauma and protect our psyche.

black history

This is our history and this image is a traumatic one. We have a terrible history in America filled with horrific experiences like the one that is captured in this picture. Our misfortune has been captured and even celebrated by our society to the point that we all begin to accept the pseudo science created by white supremacy that says we don,t feel pain the same as white people or that we are prone to violence. We have been conditioned to believe our horror is a way of life and to confront the horror visited upon us is divisive and unpatriotic. It is true that to confront the brutality and injustice visited on so called Black people is divisive and unpatriotic, because this country is formed in racism so to undo racism is in fact undoing the fabric of this country.

We have to value our well being in spite of what the media says we have to protect ourselves from these disturbing images like the one above. The image of this young man being brutally killed above is traumatic and it must be unpacked and dealt with in a safe place. As we deal with these atrocities we can function from a healthier place and function out of wholeness and not trauma.

It is more important then ever that we love on each other so that we can heal.

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