It is very rare that I am speechless, but in recent months I haven’t had much to say. When I created this site my mission was to write weekly. I wanted to share my story with the world while encouraging those who needed mental relief. However, I let life get in the way of what I was purposed to do. We all have gifts and some of us go a lifetime without using them. Up until today that was me, I was becoming stagnant and skeptic. I didn’t know what I wanted out of life and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to step into my destiny. In previous posts that I’ve written, I emphasized the importance of fighting for what you want in life and withstanding resistance. It is about time I took my own advice, but before I can do that I want to express to you what almost hindered my will to live a purposeful life.
As some of you reading this may know, life for me in recent years has been marked by many challenges. One of my biggest challenges to date is living with generalized anxiety disorder. When I was first diagnosed two years ago, I didn’t think everything I was feeling could be associated with a mental illness. During the diagnosis process, I saw several specialists, some even made a mockery of my symptoms. This period of my life was filled with many frustrations, the only thing I wanted was to feel “normal” again. Fast forward to the present day, I’ve learned a lot about mental health and I want to bring awareness to others. That said I want to share with you my depiction of anxiety.
For starters every morning I wake up I feel “normal”. I go through my morning routine without a hitch. Then suddenly my mind fills with panicked thoughts. I try to ignore them and recite my personal mantras, I am smart, I am an overcomer, I am bold, I am courageous and I am healthy, but those don’t suffice. Searching for a distraction I read my daily devotion, say my prayers and attempt to eat breakfast. After my routine is complete I mentally prepare myself to leave the house. The world can be a scary place outside of the four walls I call home, but life stops for no one. Once I get in my car my chest tightens, vision blurs and neck stiffens. I brace myself for my first panic attack of the day. Breathing deeply I try to look myself in the eyes in my rearview mirror and tell myself that I am “okay”. Pressed for time I buckle my seat belt, turn on some upbeat jams and brace myself for the traffic that lies ahead. Speaking of traffic it’s the worse. Once I arrive at my destination my heart begins to race and I feel the flutters. Not understanding what’s causing such feelings panic sets in. Trying to relax my mind I recite scriptures, say prayers, but the panic never ends. I continue throughout my day as positive as I can, after all, I don’t want to draw attention to myself. Once my day finally comes to an end I feel excited. I can return to my four walls away from the chaos and rest my eyes. At least when I sleep there is some sort of peace, because after a long day my mind has finally shut off. Even though I’ve shared my experience with anxiety, each day is different. Most days there’s a hopelessness I feel and I wonder if I will ever get better. In moments of panic, I think back on the days when worrying wasn’t the only thing that consumed my mind. How I’d love to go back in time.
I said all this to say, in reading this I’m sure there are skeptics and individuals that don’t understand the severity of mental illness. For those who can’t understand, some days I don’t either. It’s mind-boggling to look “normal” on the outside while you’re enduring a personal hell on the inside. While anxiety is the most challenging obstacle I’ve faced it has taught me patience. For those battling mental illness or any illness for that matter, keep pushing and practice patience. More importantly for those who are skeptical or lack understanding of mental illness, educate yourself. As I wrap up this post, I want to remind you to be kind to your neighbor for you never know what they are going through.