Juneteenth: Healing the Racial Trauma of the Past
Racism can have devastating impacts on its victim’s mental and physical health. It can impact a person’s happiness, health, social life, and overall quality of life. If you have found yourself a victim of racism, you may be impacted by the experience for longer than expected. This experience could be referred to as racial trauma. In today’s article, we will be covering just what racial trauma is and ways you can find healing from the racial traumas of your past.
What is Racial Trauma?
Racial trauma is the effect of extended exposure to racism, racial stereotypes, racial discrimination and bias, racist abuse, violence against people of color, and other racial stressors. These experiences can cause a person of color to feel unsafe and uncomfortable due to the color of their skin. Racial trauma can cause both physical and psychological symptoms.
The psychological symptoms of racial trauma can include:
- Distress related to one’s past racial trauma
- Nightmares and unwelcome thoughts related to one’s past racial traumas
- Avoidance of situations, thoughts, and objects that remind one of their past racial trauma
- Feeling excessively concentrated on one’s trauma, causing them to feel distracted by their thoughts and memories of the past.
- Increased irritability and sensitivity
- Low self-esteem
- Negative thoughts about others, the world, and oneself
- Numbness or dissociation
- Distrusting others
The physical symptoms of racial trauma can include:
- Physical pain
- Heart and cardiovascular disease
- Digestive problems
- High blood pressure
Healing from Racial Trauma
Racial trauma can impact a person’s overall quality of life. This is why it is so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the impacts racial trauma can have on a person. A few coping mechanisms you can try to help you through your racial trauma include:
Talk to Someone
Keeping your feelings and thoughts to yourself after experiencing racial trauma can cause excess stress and pain. Talking to a trusted loved one can help you better understand the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing as a result of your racial trauma. Talking to someone can help you feel validated and supported when you need it the most.
Explore Your Anger
You don’t have to suppress your anger. As a matter of fact, suppressing your anger may actually do more harm than good. Anger is a normal emotion after experiencing racial discrimination or other racial stressors. Figure out ways to explore your anger in a healthy, productive manner. This can include:
- Advocating for others who have felt your pain
- Talking about it
Protect Your Peace
Take care of your mental health. This can mean stepping away from the media when it becomes to painful. It can mean taking care of your physical health by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Or, it can mean taking up a hobby that helps you destress and relax. Caring for yourself can play a critical role in finding healing from racial trauma.
Counseling Can Be Crucial in Finding Healing
Racial trauma can have a devastating impact on a person. This is why counseling can be so crucial to finding healing after experiencing a racial stressor. Our counselors are here for you. Together, we will work through why you are feeling the way you do and figure out healthy coping mechanisms to get you feeling like yourself again. Contact us today!
Keywords: racism, trauma, counseling, depression