We live in a time where saying that you have anxiety is like winning a trophy for your participation in the 5th grade science fair. No, I am not reducing mental disorders to something as trivial as your younger years, but it is important to know that throwing around the term anxiety and depression is not to be taken lightheartedly for those who truly suffer.
The truth is that anxiety is a mental disorder; it is very real and you cannot blame yourself for it. In fact, ignoring your symptoms can only make it worse, and sometimes we need to treat the root of the problem in a way that yoga, tea and spontaneous trips cannot immediately fix. Flare-ups will happen, and as much as I hate to say it — no, there is not always a “cure”. I have to admit, when I had my first serious anxiety episode at age 22, I cried for months because I just wanted to be "fixed," as if I were broken.
I have never said this out loud to even my best friends, but I have dealt with the onset of obsessive thoughts, depression and anxiety at their harshest forms since I was young. Over the years, daily distractions helped me to manage them, but distractions don’t work for long when you do not understand what you are dealing with.
As someone who has a family history of mental health problems I am never necessarily shocked, but I am always stopped in my tracks when I feel an episode coming on because it is not easy to get through.
Sometimes living day to day means being afraid of your thoughts, worried about things that no one likely remembers or cares about, and just overwhelmed with the thinking that you will never be good enough to be “okay”.
And before you say it, no, it’s not easy enough to say “just get over it”, "pray about it" or “let it go” because rumination and obsessing is apart of this. Like, don't you think I have already tried that and then some?
When you feel like you have tried everything holistic, plant-based and meditative, don’t be afraid of having the realization with yourself that you may need extra help, and that sis, is okay.
It is more than okay to not feel so magical when you feel more panic. Life hurts, and when you are dealing with a mental disorder, it hurts even more because you cannot just walk into a store to cover up the bruise. It is easier to internalize everyday news stories, take on the problems of the world and even feel like it is just too hard to get out of bed.
I know, the good fight isn’t so good when you have to actually stand in the pitfalls of your mental health. It is much harder to want to keep going when you are stuck on a thought that paralyzes you for weeks. I know, it isn’t talked about often, but I hear your heart and I am here to tell you that day by day, it gets better.
Sometimes it’s cognitive therapy, medication, acceptance of our chemical imbalance and slowly learning how to move on without the Instagram hype. Trust me, I am all for self-care, but sometimes we need more intense regimes that help us at the root of our problems. You may even wonder why you cannot move on from something as easily as others, or why certain things trigger or send you into distress the most. Even the most perfect people struggle, and those who constantly point the finger do too. You are not alone and you should not suffer alone.
As someone who is a believer in the Christian faith, I also understand why many of us do not seek help or believe that if we pray hard enough, it will all just fall off. Your grandmother tells you to pray, and while I believe in the power of prayer, I also believe that freedom comes when you seek the help that you need.
Nonetheless, I am on a new journey. One that does not require the opinions of friends or family but instead the outlook of a licensed therapist. While I have not found solace in one yet, I am deciding to take this day by day to the point of acceptance, and it is my prayer that you will too.
If you don't know where to start, I highly recommend Therapy for Black Girls as this is where I have been able to narrow down my search. Until you have found someone who you can trust, invest in a journal and take it everywhere with you, it will do you some good in the long run.
P.S. Sis — it will not hurt forever, but you have to make the choice to go on the journey to better self-forgiveness and acceptance.
Ready. Set. Boss. Our daily email is pouring out inspiration with the latest #BlackGirlBossUp moments, tips on hair, beauty and lifestyle to get you on track to a better you! Sign up today.