I am back from my brief pause and what a week and a half it has been. As you may have noticed, things are very different than when I last posted. And while I will have a new Medication Monday later today, I first wanted to briefly comment on the current events sweeping the nation and the world.
First, there is the most obvious observation, which is that what happened to George Floyd is a tragedy. It was murder, and the officer does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. I applaud the city for taking him into custody, but can’t help but wonder why it took so long. And more tragic is the fact that this event did not occur in isolation, but rather it is just the latest in a long line of cases where racism has stood in the way of justice.
And given this history of injustice, the anger, the peaceful gatherings, and the protests are all understandable. Yet this period of unrest can only serve to add to the anxiety many feel about the state of the world, and for those already struggling with anxiety disorders, this can be a heavy burden indeed. If that is the case, it is okay to distance yourself. It is okay to turn off the news for a bit. What is happening right now is important, but nothing should ever be more important than self-care.
And for communities of color, it is unforgivable that the white majority took so long to recognize that every day, every traffic stop, can be a cause for anxiety in your world. It is unforgivable that that has been the reality for too long. No person should ever be made to feel anxiety while jogging. Or while bird watching. In short, no person should have to feel anxiety about living their lives. We may not have a cure for anxiety disorders, but this anxiety is of our making. It is our monster. And as a society, we must finally confront that monster and slay it.
We must reinvest in communities of color. We must offer better housing, better education, and absolutely we must offer better mental health care. This moment is an opportunity to reexamine how our society handles issues of color, and those issues go far beyond police brutality. Accessing mental health care and recovering from mental illness is hard enough without the color of your skin being an additional burden. And I pray that changes soon.