“Dr. Lewis, I have not been feeling well these past couple of days,” the text said. The first thought that came to mind was Covid. “Have you tested for Covid?” I responded. “No, I have not. I have not been doing well,” the text said.
I immediately picked up the phone and called the high schooler in SisterMentors.
Like a lot of us this past week, SisterMentors girls and young women have been impacted by the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. For some of them, the fatal stabbing of one of their classmates near their school in the Washington, D.C. area, also added to their feelings of sadness and helplessness.
The high schooler who texted me, said that she had been crying all day, and that she was not able to eat anything. She said it was because of the fatal stabbing near her school, the Texas shooting and the disappearance of a stray cat she had been feeding.
We were on the phone for a while. She talked. I listened.
Session on Trauma
“Thank you. It was enlightening. Mental health is something very important to me,” one of our young women said.
On Saturday, May 28, 2022, we held a session on trauma for SisterMentors women and girls. It was led by Dr. Laura Daughtery, one of SisterMentors doctorates, and one of our college students who has struggled with trauma since childhood but is now on the other side and on her way to recovery. Dr. Daughtery talked from the clinical perspective explaining what trauma looks like, how it can be treated, and tips for a daily practice that builds resilience against trauma.
Our college student talked from a personal perspective, sharing that finally she can talk about experiencing trauma without feeling ashamed, that her past are memories which she doesn’t have to bring into the present moment, and that her mind is like a bad roommate who tells her she is the hottest thing one day and the next day tells her that she is ugly. She explained that she tries to focus only on the present moment and that is where hope is for her and for others who have experienced trauma. We cannot change the past, and the future is not yet here, but we can shape the present moment.
“Thanks so much, Dr. Lewis, I really needed this,” said one of our young women after the session.
We will continue engaging our women and girls on mental health.
We are living in extraordinary times. The goal at SisterMentors is to be here for our women and girls, helping them to build resilience and foster hope, as they continue to experience life as it comes every moment of the day.
From my heart to your heart,
Shireen K. Lewis, Ph.D.