Living with 2020 Vision

Living with 2020 Vision

by Tiara Johnson

Are you "Living with 2020 Vision"? If so, what does that look like for you? When you reminisce about the struggles faced throughout that year, which themes or events stand out? 

The year 2020 was no doubt a challenging year for everyone and will forever be etched in our minds and our history books. We were all forced out of our comfort zones and expected to adapt to the year’s uncertainties. Now, a year later, millions of Americans are living with the mental health effects caused by the compounding events of a traumatic year. Therefore, I was inspired to write about the "2020 Vision" of others.

Even before 2020, I dealt with my fair share of depression. I had recently graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and was forced to move back home, unemployed. I became unmotivated and distant from many friends and family members. Even then, I ignored those initial feelings, hoping they would disappear. Unfortunately, that never happened. 

Instead, the challenging events of 2020 impacted my mental health and caused my first ever panic attack. Around this time last year, I participated in my first protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in my hometown, Atlanta. As soon as I arrived, I experienced a variety of overwhelming emotions. I suddenly found myself thrust into a crowd of hundreds of people who were screaming and chanting for racial justice. It was truly an extremely powerful moment to witness. 

However, I wasn’t prepared for how my body would react to such a life-changing experience. Not even five minutes into joining the protest, I began experiencing shortness of breath and sweats, and I could feel by heart beating uncontrollably. Luckily, my friend realized I was experiencing symptoms of a panic attack and quickly helped me address it. I was extremely grateful to have a friend around to help me manage that moment. 

When I got home, I immediately looked up signs of a panic disorder on the ADAA website, which gave me a better understanding of panic and anxiety disorders. The information I found helped me label my earlier symptoms as an anxiety attack. I learned that the intensity and duration of symptoms differentiates basic anxiety from panic attacks, though they are both very similar.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests, senseless acts of police brutality are still being witnessed across the country. Stories like Daunte Wright and Me’Khia Bryant continue to impact the physical, emotional and mental health of the Black community. These stories, along with my emotional experience, compelled me to do my part and share stories that help shed a light on depression, anxiety and other mental health themes experienced by the Black community in 2020. As a result, I wrote, Living with 2020 Vision: The Mental Health Awakening in the Black Community, published in August 2021.

If you are ready to learn more about how Living with 2020 Vision has affected the Black community, please visit my Instagram platform (@trulywritten_).

About the Author

Tiara Johnson is the founder of Embrace MH LLC, a mental health awareness and lifestyle brand dedicated to amplifying conversation surrounding mental wellness. She also hosts the EmbraceMH Podcast.

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