Black people have anxiety, too. Find a therapist who can help.

By Lisa Savage | Dec 1, 2020

 

 

Black people don’t get anxiety. We’re used to dealing with stress that would easily take others out. How many times have you heard this, but the real question is, do you believe that Black people are immune to anxiety?
Here’s a first person account of someone who has struggled with anxiety for a year. Yes, she’s a Black woman.

It was my sophomore year in college. I was under crazy stress from academics and a failed relationship. I vividly recall the night like it was yesterday. After a long day of studying and foolishness, I went to bed early. It must have been close to 7:30 pm. I was exhausted, making sleep come easily and quickly. To this day, I don’t remember what I was dreaming about, but I remember waking up around 1 am in a state of sheer panic. My heart was racing, I couldn’t control my thoughts, and I paced around my dorm room. I was shaking, which didn’t make sense because obviously, I wasn’t in any danger. I thought for sure I was having a ‘nervous breakdown.’ After about five minutes, I decided to wake my roommate because this feeling was not going away. Looking back, I’m sure I scared the hell out of her. She put a cold compress on my face and opened the windows to get some fresh air. Eventually, I started feeling better. I caught the clock out the corner of my eye and noted it was just 1:15 am. It wasn’t hours, which is what it felt like. I remember being so tired at that point. I guess it was from the sudden surge and release of adrenaline. My roommate offered to stay up with me, but I felt calm enough to go back to bed.
A few hours later, I woke again and felt jittery. I remember not having an appetite and wanting to stay in my room all day.  Except, I  couldn’t because I had a mid-term exam. I trudged to class, did the exam, and retreated to the dorm. Over the next few weeks, I found myself isolating more, fearful that I’d have another anxiety attack. I didn’t want to be in public if it happened again. The shame consumed men, and I felt less than the strong Black woman I was supposed to be. My ancestors went through unimaginable things, and they didn’t have anxiety. That’s at least what I told myself. The truth is, it’s likely some of them did have anxiety. Shame and the unknown makes us suffer in silence.

What I’d like you to know
1. Anxiety is hard.
2. Medication is not enough.
3. Therapy can make all of the difference in the world.
4. You don’t have to buy into the strong Black woman trope. It’s OK to be vulnerable.
5. There are Black and Brown therapists near you who are ready to help you conquer this disorder.
6. Stop suffering. Pick up the phone and get help today.

 

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Lisa Savage

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