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This Is How I Cope With My Anxiety As A DACAmented Latina Living Under A Trump Administration

About 40 million adults in the U.S. live with anxiety, an intense feeling of worry and fear that’s difficult to control. I’m one of these people. I’m also one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who calls this country home and one of the 689,800 active recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy that shielded young people like me from deportation.

Under the Trump administration, where DACA’s fate is uncertain and immigrants are under constant attack, my anxiety has intensified. I feel like I can’t make career plans or set any goals because I don’t know what is going to happen next. I can’t just have a Plan B, but also need a Plan C and D. Ideally, I want to further my education by either going to graduate school or law school. Although I know that pursuing these goals are possible without DACA, it is the fear of not being able to legally work afterwards that makes me hesitant. If DACA is terminated, what kind of employment opportunities will be available to me and what are my options?

A life after DACA is possible, I know this, but not knowing what it would look like, for me, has been daunting.

Even more, while some people victimize us, others continue to criminalize us, cherry-picking our narratives instead of actually listening to us. In his speech about ending DACA, Jeff Sessions stated that DACA recipients are not “bad people,” but that the laws need to be imposed because “enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism.” Here, he — and by extension our government — once again criminalizes immigrants as if we have not been saving lives, forming part of many communities, contributing to the economy and bringing joy and culture to this country.

All of this is becoming very overwhelming.

My anxiety used to come up under circumstances I could identify and prepare for — when I had a big test coming up or when I was trying something for the first time — but now things are different. My anxiety seems to find new ways of manifesting itself. I’ve suddenly become terrified to drive more than five miles. I feel trapped and not in control. My hands begin to sweat, and I can’t wait to get home. There, even making small talk with people feels like a nightmare, including with family and friends. I get nervous and sometimes stutter. It’s come to a point that I’m avoiding social interactions altogether.

Then there are the attacks that have occured for no particular reason. On one occasion, I went to the emergency room because I was convinced that my difficulty breathing meant that I was going to die. On my worst nights, I also deal with insomnia. My heart races and my breaths become short right as I’m about to fall asleep. Thoughts of everything that could go wrong in my life speed through my mind.

I feel like I’m becoming someone I don’t want to be, someone afraid to live her life.

I can’t say that I have found a permanent solution to my anxiety, but I have found ways to cope. While I was in college, I had access to counseling on campus, and my therapist helped me process a lot. But now that I have graduated and this service is not something I can afford, I have had to find alternative ways to tend to my mental health. Hearing other people share their experiences with anxiety has helped me a lot. It’s amazing the community you are able to cultivate through social media. I follow accounts that post positive affirmations, self-care tips and everyday people who are honest about their lives with anxiety and how they cope. I have found many inspirations and methods that have been extremely beneficial.

One of my favorite things to do after a hectic day is light a candle, make some lavender honey tea and put on a face mask, but I have learned that self care goes beyond that. Self care also includes checking in with yourself and finding the root of whatever is causing your current emotional distress. I also take walks and disconnect from technology sometimes or I make sure I’m eating right, even when my anxiety makes me lose my appetite. Self care isn’t always pretty and Instagram-worthy. Sometimes it’s letting yourself cry in front of someone you love because you should not have to carry whatever is heavy on your heart alone.

I’m still working on creating daily habits that help with my anxiety because it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. Meditating has allowed me to really be in the present. Anxiety often comes from worrying about the future, so making sure I’m living in the present can alleviate that stress. I like to use the guided meditation on the “Insight” app, and even five minutes a day is helpful. Journaling allows me to put down on paper whatever it is I am feeling. Through writing, I can usually find the solution to whatever is making me angst or realize that it’s not as terrible as it seems. Watching shows that make me laugh is also very therapeutic. Currently, my favorite is The Office. I’m able to take a break from any negativity and have a good laugh that ends up putting me in a positive mood. There are also habits, things and people that I have removed from my life. For instance, I no longer waste my energy on people who are narrow-minded, because I’ve learned it is unproductive, and at times unhealthy, trying to convince someone who hates you of your own humanity. I know our worth and I will fight for it, but I won’t interact with someone who aims to invalidate what we deserve.

On the good days, I am able to drive from point A to point B, have conversations with people I know and don’t know and get better sleep. I still get anxious, but I have found that, for me, the only thing worse than doing the things that make me anxious is not doing them at all, because avoiding these things is the equivalent to missing out on life. By avoiding the things that make you anxious, you feed your anxiety and give it more power. I now force myself to drive a little further, talk to that person for a little longer, go to that party with all those people and live my best life.

There is no shame in having anxiety, but I refuse to let it dictate my life.

To keep my anxiety at bay, I have realized that it is important to allow myself to feel. There are days when I need to cry, and that is OK. There is strength in acknowledging and accepting what I’m feeling.

The uncertainty about my future remains, but it no longer affects me the way it did before. I’ve learned that DACA plays a crucial role in my life, but it does not define me or my worth. Among the unpredictability of this political time, there is one thing I am actually certain of: I will overcome whatever obstacle comes next.

Read: These Latinas Will Give You The Mental Health Boost You Need

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After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

One year after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., two students have died in apparent suicides, compelling the community to come together and share mental health resources.

On Saturday, a sophomore at the school, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last year, took his own life. One week prior, Sydney Aiello, 19, a recent Stoneman Douglas graduate who lost her best friend in the massacre, also ended her life.

As the Florida’s emergency chief Jared Moskowitz calls for the state Legislature to send more mental health resources for the high school’s students and faculty, calling mental health a “bipartisan issue” on Twitter, the community has stepped in where the state government has been slow to respond.

On Sunday, more than 60 school, county, city, child services and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers and parents, met for an emergency meeting. Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old freshman who was murdered on Feb. 14. 2018, said that the school district will be giving parents the “Columbia Protocol, six questions that parents should ask their children, the Miami Herald reports. Based on their answers, they will know what emergency resources are available to them. Additionally, nonprofits are offering free therapy groups and services.

Online, it’s students, former and current, who are using social media to offer resources to those still suffering from the trauma and loss of last year’s school shooting. David Hogg, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018 and has become a fierce anti-gun advocate, took to Twitter, reminding Parkland students and grads that trauma doesn’t go away quickly.

“Stop saying you’ll get over it,'” he wrote. “You don’t get over something that never should have happened because those that die from gun violence are stolen from us not naturally lost. Trauma and loss don’t just go away, you have to learn to live with it through getting support.”

According to Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, who spoke with Teen Vogue, witnessing traumatic events can lead to symptoms consistent with acute stress disorder, including recurring memories, dreams or nightmares of the event; mood changes; irritability and more. These memories, she adds, can lead to negative thoughts, hopelessness, trouble sleeping and more.

Hogg wants youth to know that these symptoms are normal and that they can be managed through help, like therapy, talking with friends and family, meditation and self-care practices.

He, along with others, shared his own self-care routine.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, know there is help available. For immediate support, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and are unsure where to turn, you can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by sending HOME to 741741.

Read: Survivor Of Florida School Shooting Emma Gonzalez Is Turning Her Anger Into Political Activism

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

A 9-year-old U.S. citizen was separated from her mother for 36 hours after agents at the border accused her of lying about her citizenship.

Like thousands of students in our country, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina’s daily commute requires her to cross the U.S. border.

The fourth-grade student attends Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, California and was in a carpool to school from her home in Tijuana when she ran into traffic. Medina, was commuting to school in a car driven by her mother’s friend Michelle Cardena, Cardena’s two children and her own older 14-year-old brother, Oscar. When the long line to get into the U.S. seemed to be jampacked upon their 4 a.m arrival, Cardenas instructed the kids in her car to walk to the border. She assured them that when they reached it, she would call them an Uber to get them the rest of the way to their school.

But Medina and her never made it across the border or to school that day.

According to the New York Times who talked to a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, two Amparo and her brother arrived at one of the San Ysidro port of entry facilities for pedestrians at 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

Upon their arrival, Amparo and her brother presented their U.S. passports to a CBP officer who soon accused her of being someone else. Note: Amparo’s passport image which was taken years before so she did not look exactly like herself. They also accused her brother of smuggling.

A CBP spokesperson has said that Amparo “provided inconsistent information during her inspection, and CBP officers took the 9-year-old into custody to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

After CBP officers the confirmed that her brother was a U.S. citizen, he was permitted to enter the U.S while his sister stayed behind. It wasn’t until 6:30 pm on Tuesday, that Amparo was confirmed to be a U.S. citizen as well and was released and admitted to the U.S. to her mother.

Speaking to NBC7, Amparo said she was “scared” of her detention and that she was “sad because I didn’t have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself.”

According to Amparo’s mother Thelma Galaxia, her daughter claims that she was told by an officer that she and her brother would be released if she admitted to being her cousin. Galaxia claims that officers also convinced her son Oscar to sign a document that Amparo was his cousin and not his sister.

When Galaxia was alerted that her children had been detained she contacted the Mexican consulate.

After being notified by the consulate that her daughter would be released at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. While the family felt relieved to be grateful to be reunited with their daughter, Galaxia says the separation should never have happened.

Over the weekend, Twitter was swift to express their outrage over the incident.

Some even expressed their dismay of having a similar situation happen to them.

Many are using the incident as an example of the racial issues plaguing so many U.S. citizens like Amparo.

So many of the comments included outside opinions from those who have yet to experience the direct targetting of ICE.

Over all, nearly everyone was quick to point out the saddest aspect of Amparo’s experience.

Read: Preschool Students Are Doing Active Shooter Drills And I Guess This Is The New Normal Now

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