The proceeding churned up a persistent trauma. The frequent replay of George Floyd’s final moments may have left many feeling raw, vulnerable and without relief. While the evidence surrounding Floyd’s death is distressing for most people, it is overwhelming for African Americans — and especially excruciating for Black men who see their very humanity reflected in him.
“Sometimes you are visualizing you,” says Williams, lead clinician and owner of Hearts in Mind Counseling in Prince George and Montgomery counties in Maryland. Ninety percent of his clients identify as Black. According to Williams, his clients are continuously cycling through feelings of hope and hopelessness. While many hope for justice, they are also bracing for disappointment, one that feels familiar when unarmed Black men and women are killed by police officers.
Caught between hope and hopelessness Williams also points out the secondary trauma African Americans experience from the images and video surrounding Floyd’s death.
And Black men and women are exhausted. In the aftermath of Floyd’s murder and Chauvin’s trial, African Americans are fighting harder than ever to protect and prioritize their mental health.
Among the private concerns Black men have shared with Williams are “feeling anxiety around leaving the house” and “depression over not having control over one’s life.” “It is the emotional and psychological effects experienced through vicarious exposure to the details of traumatic experiences of others,” he says.
Tip 1: Acknowledge your feelings Take a moment to be present with yourself and to name the feelings and experiences you may be having, Williams suggests. To begin, you can start with this question, “What am I experiencing now?” Williams offers four ways to help combat those feelings.
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