• PEERS is supporting you through your WRAP® journey with daily blog posts. On Wednesdays, we provide sneak previews of what you can expect when you join one of our ongoing WRAP® groups.

This week’s sneak preview on Triggers is from PEERS Programs Outreach Coordinator and Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator Kozi Arrington.

I CAN’T BREATHE!

“My neck hurts! My back hurts! I can’t breathe!”

Those were probably the last words spoken as I watched as the life of yet another African American man is unjustly and mercilessly snuffed out. I watch through tears of horror as I see the life essence drain out of this man. 

Someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father, someone’s significant other and someone’s beloved family and community member; George Floyd, was killed by those entrusted and sworn to protect and to serve; the police. 

Police officers swear an oath to protect and serve the citizens they represent. The officers in this incident, and many others, failed horribly and were grossly negligent and derelict in their sworn duty and obligation to protect and to serve; to be peacemakers. They, instead, became the unlawful judge, jury, witnesses and executioner of Mr. George Floyd who was an, “alleged”, suspect in a forgery case at a deli.

Even if the allegation is true, which remains to be seen, forgery, as far as I know it, is not punishable by death; it does not constitute the grounds for a death sentence. 

I am so traumatized and triggered by what I have seen in the news in the past few weeks about people of color being victimized by blatant racism that I cry. I cry for the victims and for their families. I weep for the now fatherless children, their moms and for their future because they no longer have one of their parents. I cry for the pain and sorrow in the communities and institutions and associations to which the victims belonged. I cry for the many faceless, voiceless unreported cases of this nature that go unaddressed; unnoticed; uncared about. I cry for injustice. A man, a person of color, I cry. I cry!

Prejudice, stigma, injustice, discrimination, and the indiscriminate killing of people of color are things over which I have no control; the very definition of what a Trigger or Stressor is in the context of WRAP®; something over which one has no control. 

In the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, WRAP®, we learn to recognize and identify our stressors. We are triggered in a number of ways each and every day. Being the expert on ourselves, we know what makes us tick and what makes us sick. Once identified, we then formulate what is called a Triggers Action Plan. What are we going to do when we find ourselves stressed or overwhelmed? How will we make ourselves feel better? 

Well, the choices and options are many and we have the power to choose and exercise our self-identified options to take action. It’s up to an individual to decide what or which self-empowering tool(s) to use for their benefit.

If you haven’t already, you may want to try making a Wellness Recovery Action Plan, WRAP® for yourself. To join one of our online WRAP® groups, call PEERS for information on how to join. 510-832-7337

“My neck hurts! My back hurts! I can’t breathe!”