I started Paperflower Psychiatry under the premises that I would not be silent about injustices happening within our world - because it does affect our mental health. I know many small businesses and practices are trying to stay “neutral” on the current conflict in Israel/Gaza. I can’t. I won’t do it.
I struggle with sleeping and trying to rationalize why I’m allowed to rock my babies to sleep, while mothers in Gaza are rocking their babies that they found dead in the rubble. I can’t. My heart hurts when my daughter is afraid of a loud noise, or when she falls and hits her head. I can’t imagine the heartache of watching my child fear the booms of bombs falling, the pain of serious injuries, and the trauma of calling for their mothers — but their mothers are gone. As a human, as a mother, as a psychiatric professional who has spent years working with children and refugees, I cry. I’ve done enough evaluations for survivors of torture. I have read journal article after article on how turmoil affects the minds of children. I know the impact this is going to have on survivors -- and hopefully, there are survivors.
We’ve learned about genocides in our history classes. We’ve learned about the horror of the Holocaust. Maybe you’ve visited the Holocaust museum and questioned how the fuck something so horrible could ever happen. If you are into history, you’ll also know about Rwanda, Myanmar, Bosnia, Crimea, Cambodia, Serbia, among others. The difference now is that we are watching this occur live. This is traumatic. Being a witness to genocide from behind your screen, even in the comfort of your own home, is traumatic.
It’s okay to take a break from social media. I had to stop watching for a period of time because I was emotionally struggling with the images that kept coming up. We do need to remember that we have the privilege to walk away from these horrors. The people in Gaza do not. They have no where to go.
You may feel helpless and wonder what you can do...
Here is my list.
Call your Congressperson and demand a ceasefire. This only takes less than a few minutes. If you are curious, here is a Tik Tok on how to do it. Here is another method you can use to contact your Congressperson.
Donate to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. They have initiatives for the mental health of children, and they are on the ground.
UNICEF is another reputable resource that you can donate to.
Learn. For many people, this is the first time they’ve learned about this occupation. There are memoirs available that give a perspective of living under occupation. I recommend my very favorite A Woman is No Man, but here is a list of others.
Learn the signs of Genocide.
Amplify Palestinian voices on social media.
Read independent media. The news on TV will not always show you the full truth, and stations are biased. My go-to is Democracy Now!
Know that this has nothing to do with religion. Showing support is not anti-Semitic. This has to do with politics and govenment. The Jewish community is NOT responsible for this conflict. I’m sure many are in fear of anti-semitic attacks, just as many Muslims fear a resurgence of Islamophobia. Please know, this has nothing to do with religion.
Vote out old fucking stupid white people and let's vote in people who value human life.
I'll end on some quotes, because I'm really just so devastated writing this, I don't have words.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”