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behind closed doors.

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Name: Julia Eden

Age: 25 years old

Occupation: Nonprofit - Queer Human Rights

Toronto, ON

*Trigger Warning: the discussion contains content related to sexuality and race*

For me, my anxiety comes from a lot of different places and affects my life in a bunch of areas. My social location impacts the ways that I experience anxiety because I’m queer and I’m a light skinned Black woman. The ways I experience and observe racism in the world is a big part of what makes me an anxious person.

It happens when people ask to touch my hair, ask me “what I am”, and say fetishizing stuff like that I have an ass of a Black girl. It happens in my life when I get labeled as angry for speaking up against racism. These moments, the compliments and curiosities are racist microaggressions that I experience throughout the day. My Blackness also ties me to my community since we share relatable struggles, so when I read about police brutality, racist violence, and injustices, I experience a super intense reaction.

And it’s the moment I get home. Without any distractions, it all hits me like a ton of bricks. I’ll start crying and can’t stop. I feel like my heart is pumping vinegar and almost like it is disintegrating. I have trouble sleeping. I have circular thoughts loops about hopelessness or thoughts about wishing I stood up for myself in certain situations. I just can’t stop thinking about it. It’s hard. And it’s still something Im trying to cope with.

I have a therapist who I see twice a month. He is also racialized and queer which really helped develop trust between us. I try to journal when I feel anxious, and I rely on my sisters for a ton of primary support. I have found going to the gym has really helped lately, but as someone who has experienced moments of body negativity I have to be careful. A lot of the world believes that exercise needs to be for a certain outcome or number, and this belief perpetuates fat-phobia and harmful ideas about what “health” is. For me, exercise is a form of self expression and self care and it helps me sleep better. This works for me, but what works for me might not work for other people. There’s no “have to’s” in order to feel good, and I try and listen to body and what I need. I also have economic privilege that allows me to access mental health resources and outlets that I use to cope with my anxiety.

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