Kelechi has been in Canada for a few years now and is raising her two sons alone. She often sends money back home to her grandmother whom she is very close to and is very concerned about it. If Nigeria, her home country, is mentioned on the news her heart skips a beat – nervous for what might be reported. Although her grandmother is no longer ill and is in much better shape, she still worries excessively about something happening to her. She finds herself breathing heavily and sweating whenever a phone number from back home calls or texts her. Although she is very knowledgeable and hardworking, she has started to experience difficulties at work and in school because she is unable to concentrate. Because she is a Black immigrant woman, she has been told by new friends in Canada that she has to work twice as hard and so she must get this under control.
Kelechi is experiencing anxiety; a response produced by the body in stressful situations and because of various threats. While fear is often connected to real and present threats and dangers, anxiety can be seen as a response to ambiguous threats and possibilities. Anxiety begins in the brain and quite specifically, the amygdala which informs other areas of the brain to prepare for what’s ahead. The amygdala essentially assists in the regulation of emotions. Afterwards, the hypothalamus transmits the signal which shows up as stress responses. When one’s heart rate goes up, their blood pressure rises, and their muscles become tense – this is the flight or fight response being activated. With anxiety, the threat detection system which scans for possible dangers begins to work improperly.
Recap: Symptoms of Anxiety
1) Sweating as well as heavy breathing
2) An inability to concentrate on tasks at school and/work
3) Feelings of impending disaster
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