Collective trauma

I wrote yesterday about the things that clients often say and I felt worried after I finished it about how frustrated the tone was. I wasn’t even aware of how frustrated and tired I was feeling. I took a nap yesterday afternoon after I finished with clients and I slept for two hours. Hard. That’s not usual for me. I say I’m going to take a nap and then I just lie there, answering emails, checking Facebook, doing a lot of nothing but also not doing the something I set out to do – sleep.

But yesterday I slept. Drool on the pillow. Contacts dried out in my eyes (because why take them out if you never actually fall asleep). Slept.

And then I did it again today.

I’m not sure why or how I am so tired. I’ve been doing some self inventory and I don’t feel like these are depressive symptoms, but I’m trying to be watchful. I think I’m just really fatigued from the stress and the worry about what will happen next. The collective trauma that our country is experiencing is wearing us all out. It’s draining our energy and making us all feel overwhelmed and desperate. Frantic and desperate for things to go back to normal. Or to find some way to fix what is unfixable.

I think I sounded frustrated with clients because I feel that frustration myself and I want so badly to have the answers for myself, my children, as well as for my clients.

And it’s impossible.

I’ve been talking a lot in session lately about willing hands. I find that the things that come up a lot in session are the things I most need myself. Not because I’m not listening to clients, but because I think we as a collective society need some willing hands. We’re all trying to control, we’re gripping the wheel so tightly. Trying to find a way through the traffic and chaos caused by a collapsing economy, terrible civil rights trauma and abuse, people dying, fear of getting sick, fear of our families getting sick. We all want to know how to chart a course through this so we can get to the other side of it.

And we can’t.

So many of us can’t.

While there are probably people who could, but most of us aren’t them.

There’s nothing I can do to help my kids not to feel isolated from their friends. There’s nothing I can do to get my kids back into their schools with their qualified and caring teachers and peers.

There’s nothing I can do about what’s happening. Apart from using my voice and donating my resources to things and causes that I believe in. These are things that I do and try to do regularly in ways that are focused and as effective as I can make them. But they often feel so small and insufficient.

Because they are small and they are not sufficient to change what is happening.

But aside from the need to do something about the things that cause our collective trauma, we need to take care of ourselves. We need to be soft with ourselves and offer ourselves care because we’re all suffering too.

Published by alexm1008

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in Houston, Texas. I specialize in helping clients develop skills and strategies to feel more in control of their emotions and behaviors. I am also a wife and mother of two who loves to run and travel (particularly to Disney World with my kids and without).

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