As I continue to practice positive thinking and gratitude during these challenging times, I’ve recently realized the havoc surrounding my environment is weighing on me in ways that I may have been suppressing.
It all started last week on Friday night. I was woken up by helicopters circling my neighborhood, and loud sirens from fire engines and police cars on the street, and the next morning I walked outside to find my neighborhood destroyed. As a resident of downtown Los Angeles I have been a member of my community for over and decade and to witness all the destruction was traumatizing. Trauma can be a tricky thing cause it happens and you might not fully realize or acknowledge it then one day you wake up crying in bed and not know why.
That’s what happened to me the next morning. I experienced another sleepless night due to the loud raucous noises coming from the street and when I woke up the next morning I cried like a baby. I wasn’t expecting to become so emotional and began to wonder how much trauma I’ve been up against and what I need to do to get through what comes ahead. I didn’t have any food so had to leave my place and when I walked outside more establishments were looted and destroyed. My local pharmacy had glass all over the sidewalk and was boarded up with graffiti smeared on the building. My mom and pop pizza shop was also wrecked and closed down until further notice. I felt the sadness take over so gave up on my mission to get food and went home.
The past two days and nights there has been multiple protests, and it was not until yesterday when I ventured outside did I see soldiers in camouflage standing on corners holding shot guns on my street. Again, I felt the unsteady emotions of trauma seep in and turned around and went back home. I closed all my windows and turned on the AC and was in bed by 8 pm in hopes that I could drown out any noise and heal myself from all that I’d witnessed. Since there was a curfew in my neighborhood I didn’t expect to be woken up to the sounds of people below my windows on the street protesting. I watched people walk by yesterday during a daytime protest but this time I just decided maybe I need to take a break from all that surrounds my environment. I want people to speak up and exercise their right to protest, but I also have to be aware that little traumas I’ve undergone this past week will take a toll on me. I need to take a break from watching the news and reach out to people. Since my neighborhood is one of the epicenters of the rallies my friends and family offered me to stay with them, but I said no. I didn’t think that was necessary, cause I’m strong and will get through this like everyone else in my community, but that’s not always the case. I am human, and waking up to sirens all night among other traumatic visuals is going to take a toll on my mental health.
It is hard enough to go through all the emotional turmoil of the pandemic over the last several months, and now we are entering more pain, more anger and more chaos in society, which will change your mental health. When I step outside today, I hope I won’t have anymore surprises in the status of my neighborhood, but you never know. What I do know is trauma is a serious infliction that affects your mind body and soul, and figuring out how to take better care of yourself might need to reach a new level of consciousness.
Be safe everyone. Be good to yourself as best you can.