Depression and anxiety do not discriminate. It doesn’t matter what color, sex, socioeconomic or religion you are...it doesn’t discriminate — not one bit.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Since I suffer from anxiety, I had to shed some light on this topic. Last year I wrote a post about my anxiety (Living with Anxiety) and shared some suggestions that have helped me with anxiety.
Many people suffer from depression and anxiety in silence. Unfortunately, there remains to be a stigma in the African American community that prevent blacks from seeking help. Either they are afraid of being labeled, don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves to a stranger at such a vulnerable time in their life or they are uninsured and can’t afford treatment/services. I used to be ashamed of my battle with anxiety. That was until I did my research and sought help.
Stress, traumatic life events, and prolonged illness contributed to my anxiety disorder. Sometimes I worry about every little thing, internalizing, and always anticipating the worse. But I keep pushing with a smile on my face, which is not the best way to handle situations.
Then comes the upset stomach, heart racing, and shortness of breath or even panic attacks. For those who can personally relate or know someone who suffers from depression or anxiety, you are not alone.
Can I share something personal with you?
Earlier this year I was dealing with some stuff. Didn’t know where it was coming from but knew I needed to deal with it before it grew into something more. I scheduled an appointment to see a counselor. After a couple of visits of talking and answering questions, we were able to get to the root of what was going on.
We talked about how I was a teenage parent and what that experience was like for me. I had my son when I was 15 years old. I had no clue how I was going to take care of this baby boy, but I knew I had to figure it out. I worked full-time during the day and went to school at night. I was relieved to have finished high school, but I knew I couldn’t stop there.
College was next. Law was my passion, so I majored in paralegal studies. Got my associates degree, married my soul mate, had two more children, went back to school for my bachelor's degree, and then there was another addition to the family (I'll talk about that in another post). Then I decided it was time for me to go back for my master's degree.
Regardless of what I would be going through I continued to give my all to everything and everyone. Putting myself last. Always hard on myself and afraid to fail. Finally, after a couple of sessions of telling my story and expressing my feelings, I broke. We had finally got to the bottom of why I was feeling the way I was. I needed time to be me, do me and forgive myself for all the mistakes I made along the way.
It was time to take care of self and not be so hard on myself when things don't work out the way I expect them too.
I get that it’s challenging to open up to a stranger when you are going through stuff but if you can share with a friend, co-worker or family member why not a professional that can help you and get you on track. Everyone’s situation is different, and sometimes you need an outside perspective to gain a new point of view — someone who does not know you and won’t judge you.
Maybe you feel like no one wants to hear what you are going through or how you are feeling. As a mother, wife, student, employee and business owner we tend to be that support for everyone else. Talking about what's causing you stress or anxiety can help you. You need to get it out and not keep it bottled inside of you.
The fact of the matter is - your life matters!
If you are going through something, suffering from depression or anxiety, don’t be afraid to seek help.
I hope by sharing my story that it might help someone else that’s going through and let them know they are not alone.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this blog is from personal experience and research and should not be used to replace the advice of a mental health professional.