To Be A Black Woman Dealing with Anxiety
Anxiety can be overwhelming, feeling like it is taking over your life, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else and becoming a never-ending abusive cycle. What's worse is that many black women chalk it up as part of life. We have been raised to believe we are “strong” black women and seeking help shows weakness. Let’s just go ahead and rebuke this way of thinking. It’s time that we name our experiences and understand and overcome anxiety from a psychological and spiritual perspective in Black women.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety, panic, and fear:
wanting the anxiety to stop so badly and crying out of frustration and exhaustion
getting triggered by the smallest and simplest things
experiencing irritable outbursts that leave you feeling ashamed
lacking self-trust because your anxiety has made it hard to trust your own decisions
finding yourself occupied with how others see you in public (and at work)
It can be the absolute worst. It's exhausting. That's what anxiety really makes you feel. It's not just the anxiety itself, it's all the other stuff that comes with it. When this happens, we have to remind ourselves that we are human and practice strategies that resonate and help manage what's coming up for us.
Ground: Sit up straight, put your feet on the floor, focus on your breathing. Describe 5 things you see. Go into as much or as little detail as you want. Pick a specific color if that is more helpful.
Breathe: Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Place your hands on your stomach, heart or lap. Breathe in through your nose and imagine breathing in a calming color, such as light blue or green. Exhale through your mouth, imagine your anxiety being released from your body through a color such as red or gray. Repeat
Confirm: Say the following things to yourself. I am safe. I am not in danger. A panic or anxiety attack cannot hurt me. I am breathing in enough air. I can feel the ground underneath me. I am beginning to calm down. I am going to be okay. It is okay to work through my emotions.
Outside: Get outside. As much as you don't want to, just go. Sit or stand, breathe in the fresh air and scents around you. Look at the sky, take in the scenery, go for a walk, run or bike ride.
La’Tish M. Thomas, LCSW
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