Effectively Dealing with Racial Trauma, PTSD, and Anxiety


  1. Protect Yourself from the Elements.  Educate yourself on “weathering” or the metaphoric term coined by Arline Geronimus to mean evoking a sense of erosion by constant stress.   The crux of her research surrounds the issue that stress that affects people of color is chronic and enduring throughout their entire lives.  This stress is most prevalent in the young-adult-through-middle-adult ages and increases general health vulnerability.  This leads to the more structural factors that lead to weathering across class like hospitals and healthcare systems. 
  2. Remember to Breathe.  Be mindful of the term “destination’s disease” whereby one holds their breath through a crisis in hopes that they can exhale on the other side of it.  What really happens is holding your breath contributes even more to the stress of the events and can make matters worse. 
  3. Explore the functional and dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors that been through multiple generations now affecting homes, schools, work and more.  PTSD can have a different meaning for blacks than it does for the general population. In fact, Dr. DeGruy has developed the theory of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which includes the multigenerational trauma together with continued oppression coupled with the absence of opportunity to heal or access the benefits available in society. 
  4. Unpack your invisible backpack.  Everyone is carrying something unbeknownst to others.  We negatively carry our hurts, pains, abuses, humiliations, degradations, etc.  If we do not address these issues either personally or with a professional, we are likely to bleed on people who didn’t cut us. 
  5. Talk it out.  We are only as sick as our secrets.  This does not mean you have to share your personal life history with others, but it does mean that you can be aware of the most that pressing and disturbing life issues you carry and do something about it. 
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works"
– Hebrews 10:24