As we prepare to launch BBGTV.org, a video channel with fun, interactive, soulful ways to build resilience, I find myself asking: Is resilience the fix for trauma - or do we need something more?
Trauma is a heavy word, but it simply means we are experiencing an event that overwhelms our capacity to manage in that moment. Trauma has real and lasting effects, and as the pandemic has forced us to reckon with, our emotional wellness affects our work, relationships, and our children’s learning and development.
Resilience is the way in which we process trauma so that we can function, bouncing back from what happened, hopefully with better strategies and a renewed meaning about our life.
For me personally, trauma freezes my ability to work and think clearly and resilience allows me to find some peace and strength. It doesn’t mean roughing it through but a more elegant way of living: setting boundaries, finding love and acceptance, and taking good care of myself so I can be there for others. This takes work. But it is very comforting knowing I’m not alone in working to manage my stress and traumatic past.
Feeling isolated in our pain is a traumatic experience in itself.
Adversity, traumatic events, and chronic stress dampen our drive, hinder our
creativity, and cause us to feel unlovable or unworthy. These feelings may begin in childhood with the occurrence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), a well-researched phenomenon we reference often at Bounce Back Generation and refers to childhood traumas that lead to learning problems, emotional dysregulation, and long-term physical health problems. If we grew up in a chaotic household, tiptoed around an alcoholic, saw a parent walk out the door and never come back, or were terrified by a shootout in our neighborhood, we can interpret these events as messages that we are not good enough to live in safety or stability. We can spend our lives feeling we are damaged, torn up from the inside, and that nothing will ever feel completely right. Our bodies retain that initial pain and store it away in places that can pop up on us unwittingly, causing us to become triggered and retraumatized.
At Bounce Back Generation and BBGTV.org we use a set of tools to help us organize emotional selves to think and act in ways to build our resilience. The 6 Building Blocks for Resilience offer us a shared tool box we can dip into when we need it and the basic needs we all have for peace, safety, relationships, coping tools, confidence, belonging, and sharing our stories. At Bounce Back Generation we started resilience-building by filming our lives finding ways to cope through the pandemic lockdown. We weren’t professional filmmakers and you will see our progress learning how-to “can-do” making videos about art, cooking, coping, sharing our resilience stories, poems, mindfulness and #feelgood15 moments. But each film allowed us to express ourselves and affirm we are worthy of self-care.
Recovering from trauma requires a set of ongoing tools with communal support. Trauma can be a cold and lonely place, so the "work" of resilience-building includes a cozy blanket, a hot cup of tea, and an embracing community to help each other find our way through. That is what Bounce Back Generation is building with you.
Bounce Back Generation and BBGTV.org seek to harness our collective power to bounce back. BBGTV.org isn’t a passive place to visit. First, come for the Feel Good moments that help to change our state of mind. Next, Learn More, sign up for a Community Learning Event. Bounce Back allows you to share your resilience stories.
Our Bounce Back Generation community is about communities that typically don’t get self-care and wellness messages specifically for them.
We are rooted in public housing, aligned with the unhoused, we believe Black Lives Matter, that refugees and immigrants are people too, and that we all deserve help regardless of our income levels.
Together we have analyzed the qualities of life that not only help us heal in the moment, but also help us build the muscles we need to prepare for the next rough patch that may come down the road. The 6 Building Blocks for Resilience aren’t the cure to all trauma; we fully support individual mental health therapies. But for many in our communities mental health therapies are stigmatized or unavailable. Resilience-building is not the hammer that will eliminate the nails before us, but they offer a place to start a journey towards resilience. What BBGTV.org does is to make this journey a communal event. Together, we’ll figure this out.
We invite you to join our community as we practice the building blocks together. Welcome to BBGTV.org. We are glad you are here.