Now I haven’t been clinically diagnosed with any mental illnesses, but that’s most likely because I never sought out professional help.
I’d much rather have an internal argument with myself, wait months and become content with my issues. I know this isn’t the best way to deal with my problems but I’ve never been taught that there was any other way.
I barely gave my internal battles any recognition until they became to heavy for me to push aside. My anxiety went from a snowflake to an avalanche.
Feeling as though my world was coming to an end internally even though, externally, everything seemed perfectly fine. Hyperventilating until I became lightheaded, heart racing so fast that my breathing couldn’t keep up, and the feeling of impending doom.
My depression went from not cleaning as often to not being able to get out of bed. I’d wake up with all of the tasks I need to complete in mind but for some reason getting up felt like the biggest task of them all.
Then at the end of the day I’d feel guilty for wasting a day in bed. People often thought I was a happy person because I was able to put on a smile but I just didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer.
One day I tried to bring forth the last moment when I was genuinely happy and I couldn’t recall it; this was when I knew something had to change.
At first I didn’t know what was going on with me. Growing up in a black family, visiting a doctor to talk about feelings weren’t exactly an option.
Mental illnesses are so easily dismissed within the black community, but I knew that I couldn’t continue with my normal methods of dealing. My first step to dealing with my anxiety was doing research.
I searched the internet, spoke with various people dealing with similar symptoms, and gathered as much information as I possibly could about all the various mental illnesses there are. My next step was combatting anxiety and depression.
The most beneficial thing I’ve ever done to combat mental illness was planning for the future. Being able to see the future I wanted gave me the necessary push I needed to make changes.
Rather than turning my alarm off in the morning and rolling over, I would kick the covers off and sit up. Just that action alone had a domino effect on the rest of the day as well as the following days.
Just knowing I had the energy to get out of bed changed my mentality. I now eat healthier, do yoga daily, and complete all of my day-to-day tasks. I’m not completely rid of anxiety and depression but I no longer feel helpless.
If you are dealing with a mental illness on your own, know that you aren’t alone and there are healthy ways to deal with it. Think of the future you want, no matter how impossible it may seem and think of it every morning. The thought alone changes your daily actions.