Racism and Discrimination
It’s an ugly truth that racism and discrimination have been affecting generations for hundreds of years. For awhile, racism and discrimination were veiled (undercover) and not so out in the open, but recently, racism and discrimination has reared its ugly head again with people feeling it’s acceptable to confidently express these insulting opinions and exhibit offensive (and often illegal) actions.
Resistance to these actions has also been more visible and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are speaking out against racism and discrimination.
If you have experienced racism and discrimination, in any form, it can have a very negative impact on you.
Symptoms & signs of the impact of racism and discrimination
Depending on the severity of what you’ve experienced, and how long it’s been going on, you may feel mildly annoyed or you may be reeling from what you’ve experienced. Being a victim of racism and discrimination can affect your mental and physical health and you may notice you are feeling the effects of stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma and maybe even PTSD. These symptoms can include:
- Inability to stop worrying
- Feeling vulnerable
- Extreme stress
- Being easily startled and/or quick to panic
- Feeling socially isolated or alienated from others in your life
- Being withdrawn from everyday life
- Problems in your social relationships with others
- Indecisiveness and inability to concentrate
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling worthless
- Lack of joy in things or activities that used to bring pleasure
- Feeling irritated
- Mood swings
- Depression or extreme sadness
- Fear of people of other cultures (usually Caucasian people)
- Fear of attending school, work, or other events where racists may be present
- Feelings of shame
- Misplaced aggression towards other people or family pets
- Openly or secretly planning revenge against the perpetrators of racism
- Trust issues
- Feelings of numbness
- Shock and confusion
- Trouble catching your breath
- Difficulty sleeping (Insomnia or excessive sleeping)
- Trembling, muscle tension
- Digestive problems (diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, etc.)
- Heart palpitations
- Back pain, chest pain, muscle aches, and joint pain
- Change in appetite or weight
- Self-destructive behaviour (alcohol or drug use/abuse)
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Trauma response (PTSD)
When is it time to get help?
If you’re experiencing symptoms from race-related discrimination that are affecting your ability to function, enjoy your life, or your physical or mental wellness, then it’s time to seek help. No one should have the power to impact your life in this way. It’s okay to access support to reclaim your power and to find ways to combat racist actions.
Treatment methods for the stress of dealing with racism and discrimination
There is no one single treatment for dealing with the effects of this injustice because it depends on what impact they’ve had on you. For example, if what you’ve experienced has stirred up anxiety in you, then treatments for anxiety will be effective. If you’re depressed, then that’s the focus of treatment same goes for abuse, trauma, PTSD, etc. Together with your therapist, you will discover the best treatment method for alleviating symptoms.
It’s important to note that racism and discrimination in Alberta is a violation of the Human Rights Act and as such, it is illegal for racism and discrimination to take place at work, in public places, retail and business establishments, etc.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
It’s important to note that your therapist is there to listen to your experience. In addition to treating symptoms, your therapist can assist you in dealing with the race-related discrimination causing you stress. They can help you with:
- Effective communication (staying calm and reasonable when you feel anything but!)
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Finding allies if needed and connecting with others
- Making healthy choices such as deciding to distance yourself from the racist person, or maybe even enlisting authorities, if needed.
Unfortunately, many people who are of visible minority or from a marginalized community have encountered racism or discrimination in their lifetime. These encounters can seem small but can chip away at your mental health – especially if they are frequent – and they can really impact your feelings of self-worth (death by a thousand cuts), or these encounters can be significant and/or violent and be life-altering. Insight would be honoured to support you on your journey to healing from the effects of racism and discrimination.
We have therapists who have experience in this area. Contact us to book an appointment.