How to Protest If You’re Anxious
It's natural to wonder how to protest if you have anxiety. The protests resonate with us, but it's difficult to go out to a protest and raise your voice in solidarity when you live with anxiety.
That said, I believe the protests that are sweeping through our country (as well as the rest of the world) over the past several weeks have become one of the biggest (if not the biggest) civil rights demonstrations in the history of mankind. I, for one, am ecstatic that so many people have been so vocal in demanding profound change in the ways Black people are treated.
And yet, as events have transpired, I couldn’t help but feel like a hypocrite. For as supportive as I am of the movement, my anxiety has, in my eyes, impeded my abilities to be more active. Marching in a protest would be a bad idea as large crowds make me very anxious. My use of social media is close to nonexistent for mental health reasons as well, so I can’t do much there.
I know I can’t be the only person with anxiety who feels this way, so for anyone who may be in a similar position, this is for you.
A Message for Anxious People Who Want to Know How to Protest
First, let me be blunt: feeling this way does not make you a hypocrite. You should not feel the need to make excuses for taking care of your mental health, even if that means being more withdrawn.
I’ve come to realize my idea of protesting and activism was flawed from the start. I was feeling like a hypocrite because I was under the impression that everyone should do the same things as part of the protest, and that just doesn’t make sense. Different people should be involved in different ways, depending on their talents and, most relevantly here, depending on what their mental disposition is.
You don’t need to be in the heart of the crowd to make an impact. I’ve always believed that even if you change the heart and mind of one person for the better, you’ve changed the world for the better.
Different Ways to Protest
With that in mind, what are some effective ways to protest if you’re anxious like me? First, let me say that when I said in the previous paragraph that changing one person’s mind can change the world, that includes your own. If you find your own knowledge of what’s going on to be lacking, educate yourself. Read things from people whose voices will continue to remain relevant for more than one news cycle.
Once you’re educated, ask yourself, do you know anyone personally who's views you find to be misguided? Sit down with that person one-on-one and calmly explain your point of view. Maybe that person won’t agree right away, and if that’s the case, remain firm and passionate in your convictions, but try not to get angry unless the situation truly calls for it.
If you’re on social media, you don’t have to post a billion things or follow everyone’s posts religiously. Maybe just post something simple expressing your solidarity with what is going on, so people know they can count of you as an ally.
You don’t have to move heaven and earth to make a difference. Even simple gestures like this can have ripple effects that can facilitate positive change.
DeSalvo, T. (2020, June 10). How to Protest If You’re Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2020/6/how-to-protest-if-youre-anxious