A Message from the President
We say June 12, 2016 “changed our lives forever,” but what does that mean? As I look back over the last 365 days, I can see for me, there were days I spent a lot of energy convincing myself I was calm, cool and collected, when I was stretched to my limits emotionally; I behaved recklessly while telling myself nothing was out of the ordinary; I told myself I was ok, when I was the opposite of ok. Even though I’ve told probably scores of reporters this is what happens when someone is compromised by trauma, I couldn’t see it was happening to me.
I was traumatized by the Pulse shooting.
We all have our own relationship to the shooting and how we feel about it. It is very likely, just like me, you have made excuses to yourself to not acknowledge your pain. You might even tell yourself you have no right to feel affected – even if you were in the club and escaped without physical injury.
I was not in the club that night. I’ve been to Pulse many times, but hadn’t been there in years. I did not personally know anyone who was killed or injured. I’ve been psychologically wounded in other ways in my past, and it’s not just about Pulse. This might be true for you too. Additionally, I love our Orlando LGBTQ community and when it is wounded, I feel it just as deeply. It has taken me almost a year to realize all the things I tell others apply to me too.
I got help.
Although I’ve provided psychotherapy for over twenty years, it’s been almost as long since I’ve been in therapy myself. I forgot how healing it can be to give myself a space where I can be completely open, honest and vulnerable with myself. I’m starting to feel like “me” again.
On this Orlando United Day, we celebrate Acts of Love and Kindness to honor our fallen and injured. I urge you to give the ultimate act of love and kindness to yourself – seek healing if you need it. It’s ok if you’re not ok. Help is still out there.