In a recent piece on Crosscut, (“Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the psychology of buried trauma“), Seattle writer and psychotherapist Carol Poole discusses Dr. Ford’s powerful testimony through the lens of traumatic experience and how it impacts the brain. She notes that once we understand the neurobiology of trauma, we’re able to make sense of Dr. Ford’s incomplete memories of what happened on that long ago day. And with this understanding comes a recognition of Dr. Ford’s testimony as a display of pure strength and courage: “Hence my fear for Dr. Ford: speaking up so publicly, she was breaking a primordial survival rule most women know, whether or not we’ve given it much thought”.
While Carol’s article is powerful and insightful, it may be difficult to read for those who have experienced trauma. Please be gentle with yourselves as you read it; you may need to save it for later or take it in small doses.
The article also includes a list of local trauma resources, worth repeating here:
We’ve had two summers now with significant smoky air from west coast wildfires. We northwesterners look forward to and treasure our short, perfect summers, so it’s disheartening to have to stay inside during our precious warm weather. There are health impacts as well as significant environmental degradations from these increasingly frequent and intense fires, but we’re affected also on a personal level, as our brief summer slams to a close.
Local shop owner/herbalist, Karyn Schwartz wisely observed about our smoky skies on her Instagram feed:
Remember that your physical well being and your emotional well being are not two separate things…. [I]f you have been agitated or anxious or just overwhelmed with feelings – you are not alone. This is part of the sickness we are all enveloped in. The smoke is exacerbating struggles we already have, and making it impossible to ignore a lot of things we all wish were not true. Part of our collective medicine is to be kind and gentle with ourselves and each other.
A recent story on the CBC website focused on these personal impacts on our mental health. For many people, they feel isolated and depressed, having to stay inside during the one time of the year when we normally can savor warm sunny days, dine al fresco, swim, and enjoy long, light-filled evenings. For others more drastically and directly affected by wildfire, they struggle with loss of home and livelihood.
These long-term significant disruptions to one’s place in the world can have profound effects on your mental health. If your feelings of despondency don’t fade when the air improves, it’s a good idea to seek out mental health assistance.
by Judy Koven