I keep reading more stories about the immigrant children torn from their families at the border and further victimized in the places they have been (and too many continue to be) kept. I recognize as a I read that this news causes a physiological stress response in me. I hear from friends and clients that the same happens to them.
What the children are going through is Trauma with a capital T. It will take effort and time and money, and trained care to help them overcome what they have been experiencing.
Although it is not trauma of that capital letter significance, watching what happens to them from a distance, reading about it, worrying about them, feeling helpless about it… that’s traumatizing too, albeit with the lowercase t.
The physiological response is the body responding to the stress, as if it could run away from the danger and save us, or freeze in place until the danger passes. Except that it doesn’t pass, and no one is saved. And then there’s a new distressing story to read.
That energy of fear and survival remains in our system, coursing through us, prepared to be triggered again when we see the next piece of distressing news, and wreaking havoc on our bodies, causing anything from headaches or insomnia to high blood pressure.
The best way to break that cycle is to transmute the energy. We achieve that by doing something, breaking the helplessness and going into action. That might include contacting members of Congress, volunteering, gathering like-minded friends to brainstorm, making donations, even writing a blog post 😉
What are some of the ways you respond to the feeling of helplessness?