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What's Anxiety Got to Do With It?

A survey done by the Census Bureau revealed that anxiety levels for Black Americans had risen from 36% to 41% after the murder of George Floyd. These numbers have probably since gone up because of continued exposure to racism and racist abuse, police violence, COVID-19, disparities in access to healthcare and opportunities, and mass racial trauma.

Anxiety is not just a bundle of nerves that can be wished away or ignored. It’s a serious mental health issue that is affecting black people at higher rates than other races. When not addressed or treated, anxiety may develop into more something that not only impacts your mental health but your physical health.

Anxiety manifests in the following day to day activities: – (more reasons why we should take it seriously)

  • Fear to drive or get stopped in traffic by the police as a black person. We’ve seen time and again black people getting lynched and racially profiled as criminals just because they’re colored.

  • Social anxiety at work where in most cases black people are the minority so they have to work twice as hard and be twice as good than other races if they’re to make any progress.

  • Praying that black men get back home safely because any day outside could be their last day. Someone could call the police on them or even shoot them like in the case of Ahmad Arbery.

  • Fear to shop or eat in high-end places or reside in luxurious neighborhoods because of racial profiling and harassment.

  • Dealing with microaggressions which are described as brief and everyday verbal, behavioral and environmental discredits that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to the target person or group.

What is Anxiety and should you seek therapy for it?

Anxiety is characterized by extreme feelings of nervousness, restlessness, worry, and tension in ordinary situations. It is an anticipation of perceived threat – fear that something bad or dangerous might happen.

It’s the leading health issue in America with 1 in every 5 American adults experiencing anxiety. 63% of people are either treating or preventing anxiety every day.

Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives; before making a presentation, on a blind date, trying something new, speaking in public, in a job interview – it’s part of the human experience. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, frequent, and sudden – it can negatively impact one’s life and disrupt normal functioning.

Symptoms of anxiety include; fatigue, insomnia, panic attacks, muscle tension, headaches, overthinking, nausea, trembling, excessive worry, rapid heart rate, irritability, lack of concentration, negative self-talk/low self-esteem, and difficulty completing small tasks.

The good news is that anxiety can be managed and treated but it’s best to work with a professional because therapy provides proven, effective and long-term solutions to treating anxiety depending on which methods of treatment work best for you. The process seeks to gain insight into the source of your anxiety, equip you with the right coping techniques, and put you on a regimen of healthy habits that will help you live a wholesome life.

People of color hardly seek therapy because of barriers like stigma surrounding mental health care, distrust in the health care system, denial of mental health issues, and lack of culturally competent professionals. Here at A Will to Thrive Counseling, we put into consideration all the fears you might have about seeking counseling and we give you an affirming, validating, and professional therapy experience. If anxiety has taken over your life, feel free to schedule an appointment, and let’s start your journey to freedom!

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat Zinn

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