Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She's in Therapy for Trauma Related to the Capitol Insurrection

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She's in Therapy for Trauma Related to the Capitol Insurrection
Photo:Jose Luis Magana (AP)

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, like so many of us, is in therapy.

In an interview last week with public radio show Latino USA, Ocasio-Cortez said she goes to therapy to deal with—among many other things—the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol.

Ocasio-Cortez shared her experience on that day in an Instagram Live almost one month later, after she got clearance to speak publicly about it. In the live she described hiding in the bathroom in her office while voices outside yelled “Where is she? Where is she?” At one point someone opened the bathroom door and she barely managed to remain hidden, pinned against the wall. She later learned that the voices belonged to Capitol police officers, but at the time she believed they were Trump rioters.

“And this was the moment where I thought everything was over,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time. “I mean, I thought I was going to die. And I had a lot of thoughts … I really just felt that, if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here. I had a lot of thoughts, but that was the thought I had about you all.”

After the bathroom incident, Ocasio-Cortez spent some five hours hiding in Congresswoman Katie Porter’s office with her.

She told the radio show that it was Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley who encouraged her to take some time to process the insurrection, which Ocasio-Cortez said “deeply affected lawmaking” for herself and many of her colleagues.

“When I explained to her what happened to me, like the day of—because I ran to her office—she was like, ‘You need to recognize trauma,’” Ocasio-Cortez told host Maria Hinojosa. “And I feel like I learned this the hard way after my father had passed away when I was a teenager… That happened at a young age and I locked it away. You have to live with it for years.”

Ocasio-Cortez said therapy has also helped her process the last four years under Trump: “I’m doing therapy but also I’ve just slowed down,” she said. “I think the Trump administration had a lot of us, especially Latino communities, in a very reactive mode.”

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