Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared personal details of her experience during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in an Instagram Live broadcast on Tuesday night. Ocasio-Cortez told followers that, while she could not share some details due to security risks, she believed that her life was in serious danger during the violence.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me. And I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event due to security concerns. But I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die.
And you have all of those thoughts where– you know, at the end of your life, and all of these thoughts come rushing to you. And that’s what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday. And I thought I– I– I did not think– I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense, but also in a very, very specific sense.
And I think it’s an opportunity for a lot of us to talk about trauma as well. One thing that I can say is that in the aftermath of this, there have been a lot of counselors and there have been physicians in the House talking about the importance of, you know, some of the rapid response that happens, and that what we can do in our minds and our brains after you are exposed to a traumatic event. And I think what’s really important is that because whenever any person has an encounter where they think they’re going to die and they go through that process, that is– that is a traumatizing event.
And you don’t have to– things don’t have to get that far for something to be traumatizing. I once really excellently heard trauma– and I’m so sorry to whoever is the author of this thought, because I don’t remember who said this. But I once heard trauma described as too much, too fast, too soon. And so when psychologically, a development happens that is way too much, way too jarring for an individual if it happens, or if something happens that happens way too fast or if it happens way too soon, that could be a traumatizing event for a person.
And I think what’s really important is that there are degrees of it. But for a lot of people, whether you are a service member who served in our armed forces abroad, whether you are a person that maybe experienced domestic violence, any traumatizing event at all could– Wednesday’s events could have been very triggering for you, too. And you don’t have to have been there. You could have just seen it on TV. You could have just heard about it.
But if you at all feel unsettled in a deep way that your intuition is kind of telling you something’s not right, go check in with somebody. There’s no problem with that. There’s no shame in that. It’s health care. Mental health care is health care, which is why, by the way, why we fight for mental health care to be included in health-care provisions and bills like Medicare for All.