Being as though today is World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share my personal experience having anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most common disorders amongst 40 million adults. This is something I never really talked to my friends or family about until the last two years. I’ve known for years something was wrong but it took a breaking point to seek help.
*Disclaimer* I may have spoken on this before, but I don’t think I’ve been this detailed. I contemplated not sharing this, but I hope it helps at least 1 person.
For me, episodes of anxiety began when I was in middle school. I’ve always been a soft-spoken girl, always did what I was supposed to do and stayed out the way, keeping to myself. I didn’t have issues making friends, but at the same time, I was bullied. Worrying about going to school anticipating someone ripping on you, cracking jokes, laughing at how you talk, or what you look like, or what clothes you have on. I never said anything to anyone about it, never complained, didn’t snitch and tell a teacher, I just let it go.
Over the years as a kid seeing your father stay in toxic relationships because he didn’t have his own sh*t was heartbreaking. Seeing these women disrespect my dad in front of his children, that’s when it really began to escalate for me. Never wanting to leave my dad when we would stay over his house for the weekend. Not being able to have fun without me looking over my shoulder thinking “here goes _____ trying to argue”. I’ve seen women put their hands on my dad, I’ve seen women talk to my dad like he was a regular dude off the street.
16 years old you’re walking down the street in broad daylight with your mom to catch the bus to go to the mall and two men are in the middle of the street pointing guns at each other and you’re hoping they don’t see you. Being in a nightclub at the age of 23 everyone is having a good time, and shots rang out, everyone scatters like roaches. I get outside and there’s blood on the back of my shirt. Not my blood but from someone else whom was hurt. That’s just one of many incidents I’ve witnessed in the club scene.
Being in the comfort of your place of peace and your door is kicked in and guns placed in your face all because they’re looking for someone close to you who have made certain choices in life to provide for their family. Yet again, your mom calling you to tell you it happened again only this time she was home by herself.
Living with someone who battles depression deeply to the point if they don’t take their medicine they can lose themselves. Countless incidents of passing out from dehydration, falling because they’re too weak from not eating to stand up.
These are just some things that has happened in my life that have contributed to my extreme anxiety. Having to work from home because your anxiety is just that bad, you can’t risk having an anxiety attack at work. Having to use countless hours of FMLA because you just can’t seem to get out of bed to face the day. You can’t explain to people how you feel because you can’t put it into words. People think you’re lazy but it’s a real-life battle within. This has caused me to miss out on a lot of opportunities in life.
It was only over a year ago I seen a doctor and explained to them what I’ve experienced and of course, like doctors, they prescribed a medication that I would take once a day at night before bed. This may help some people, but for me, my worries were “what do I do when I am having an actual anxiety attack, how can this 1 pill help that?”. The only thing that helps me when I am having an anxiety attack, what helps me when I am shaking uncontrollably, palms sweating, heart racing, is to sit at the edge of my bed and rock back and forth. I had an anxiety attack one year on my birthday in the middle of my VIP section, all I could do was sit down, close my eyes, and rock back and forth. When it was over I had to get up and act as if nothing had happened. Toast my champagne bottle to the good life, right.
I totally understand why people don’t talk about their experiences with mental health, people dismiss it as if it’s no big deal, or as if you’re making excuses for yourself. Me, personally I don’t talk about it because I don’t want the pity. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, I don’t want people to only befriend me because of my issues. I want people to know when I distance myself and have my time, no questions asked, understand it is not about you.
Things that I have done to help with my anxiety, working out, writing, organizing my days, marijuana, sleep, and protecting my peace. Take it 1 day at a time, and do things that are beneficial to you.