As I write this….
I can’t believe we are, in 2020, experiencing this much pain. Being white myself, I have never had the anticipating fear of people looking at me, being arrested for no real reason, or automatically being stereotyped. Growing up, I was raised in a suburban neighborhood outside of San Francisco. I never saw or experienced racial discrimination or racial equality. My heart breaks for those who have chronic anticipatory fears of going out in public, being thrown in jail or pulled over while they are just trying to go about their day. I may be white, but I do know what chronic anxiety and panic attacks feel like. For me, it’s having empathy that a lot of people(not just African Americans) live with chronic, daily, general anxiety and panic attacks. I have personal experience with anticipatory anxiety, specifically. It’s a certain type of anxiety where your mind starts imagining worst case scenario’s & fears & negative outcomes, BEFORE, a situation has happened. It’s trying to control the uncontrollable. But, for African American people, in 2020, this fear isn’t just in their head, it’s real. It’s not just them being “anxious” or “paranoid” or “thinking negatively” it’s a real life, daily journey. It’s not fair and I think we ALL can have compassion for how this situation is affecting African Americans’ mental health/well-being .How do chronic anticipatory anxiety, fear & stress affect ones wellbeing? Mentally & physically? Anxiety- is by definition, a way that our mind gets ready for something. Typically people feel anxiety before a test, going on a date, taking a flight, etc. Something where they may not have control over the outcome or something negative COULD possible happen. Where they could risk themselves and be vulnerable. Others, have daily, chronic, generalized anxiety- meaning their mind perceives EVERY/ALMOST ALL situations as a threat, or something they have to overthink in order to get closure, control or understand.
Some are born with hereditary anxiety/ their mind is NATURALLY wired to WANT to overthink, over analyze, dwell, ruminate or have “control” over a situation in their mind, when in reality they had no control over someone else’s actions or the outcome of a situation.
Now, imagine, being African American, and feeling CHRONICALLY anxious, worried, stressed or fearful of something you have NO control over(the color of your skin) affecting how others perceive you. That’s enough to make one person anxious & constantly stressed.
My heart is with you & my empathy- today & always. I truly understand, in a sense, what it feels like to be constantly worried. But a lot of my fears weren’t possible real case scenarios. But for African Americans, it is.