First and foremost, today is November 5, 2018. If you have not voted already GO VOTE! No matter what side of the isle you are on, I urge you not only to exercise your civic duty but to be an informed voter. There are many non-partisan organizations such as the League of Women Voters who distribute information regarding all candidates and issues. It is important to know who is representing you and your community! GO VOTE!
Earlier this year my blood pressure was at 200. I was on prednisone (oral steroid) as a fertility regime that helped my body not fight the growing fetus. Raging hormones and a very rocky home life, I developed anxiety and panic attacks. I do believe the steroids over stimulated me but those two months on the steroid and dealing with the fear of everything falling around me lead me to experiencing my first big panic attack. I was laying in bed. I could feel my pulse in my neck and my heart rate elevate. I would sweat profusely and jump out of the bed hyperventilating, feeling as if I couldn’t breathe or catch my breath.
I experienced severe depression when I lost my son Elan in July of 2015. For nearly a year and a half I fought myself and struggled with my identity as a woman. Upset I couldn’t give my husband a baby. Angry at God and my body for failing me. I would go into a state of complete shut down and couldn’t shake the fog. I was just sad and unhappy. That sadness and unhappiness leaves your loved ones feeling helpless. So much so I shut my husband out, not intentionally, but I was in such a state that I wasn’t me…I can admit that now. If you have experienced loss of any kind, it is so important you get help. And if you know of a loved one who is experiencing depression, speak up. I thought I was okay but in retrospect I wasn’t.
I would hear, “God makes no mistakes” or “All in God’s timing”. To be honest I didn’t want to hear any of that. If anything, it made me angrier because other women would go and have babies and share all of their stories; as for me, all I had for it was nothing. A sad story that made people uncomfortable. I missed being pregnant and I missed my son. It was unfair. I would say, if I were to die and see God and he gave me a reason why he took my son away, it wouldn’t be enough for me. There was no reason good enough to me at the time why God would allow me to continue to see loss. I completely broke. Gained weight. Distanced myself intimately from my husband. I didn’t feel desirable because sex was a chore to make babies between my husband and I, not something to connect us. In his own way I am sure he tried, but I needed HELP.
I didn’t truly understand the damage of Elan and the impact it had on my marriage until all hell broke loose in my marriage; when I was out of my fog and saw the cracks that got bigger and the distance between my best friend and I.
Have you ever loved something or someone so much and you could almost see in slow motion as everything slipped out of your fingers? A job that you put your all into, something you actually enjoyed and thrived at and you get laid off or you don’t get the opportunity that you believe you deserve. You see others who aren’t as good get the opportunity that you worked hard for. If you watch “This is Us”, Beth went through this and she broke. She was gooood at her job, a boss, a match to her husband and all of that came crashing down. When she broke and said “Randall, I am not okay.” I felt that to my core. I used to relish in standing in my truth. I wasn’t okay and that is okay. But I didn’t get help.
Depression and anxiety in the black community is real. We are finally at the point where we can talk about it, but we haven’t really accepted the help that is out there for us. We can recognize we have a problem, but it ends there. If you are reading this blog and you are experiencing any kinds of depression or anxiety; if you have identity issues, familial issues, spiritual issues – seek a therapist or counselor.
For me, I want to share what has helped me. I use the ABIDE app. You can download via your iPhone or Android. This app is geared towards biblical meditation. I absolutely believe in meditating or prayer over bible versus and stories. Go to church. I didn’t always believe in the institution of church but as I have grown older and am getting closer in my walk with Jesus, I believe you need a community of people with the same relational mindset to God and Jesus. Church is no longer confined to a building and I can stream multiple services to get the teaching and inspiration I need. THERAPY!! Go seek help. I can’t express this enough. I work for the government and through our employee services we receive FREE counseling, up to six sessions. Look into your job benefits and see what mental health perks you receive.
Seeking help is like going to Chipotle. If you are like me, you want the burrito bowl. Your body is the bowl and the different ingredients are the perfect combinations to fuel your soul. The rice is like my spiritual foundation. Sometimes you need them to put MORE rice into the bowl. And the chicken, well that is my therapist. Majority of the time I get what I need, but there are those few times I need double the helping. Your various toppings are the things that helps you in your daily life. Meditating, dancing, writing (blogging), grabbing drinks with friends; you can switch it up to see what works best for you. You see, I email my husband when I feel anxious. We do have a relationship where we communicate but when I am feeling extremely anxious and feel that heaviness in my chest with our situation, I write him in an email. I get my feelings out in a positive way and I always leave it with staying prayerful that we receive the happiness we both deserve.
Your challenge this week is to start pouring into yourself and feeding your mental health with positivity. Find an affirmation that you repeat and eventually recite. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat it each morning until you start to believe the words you speak. Find ways to connect with God, be it through an app similar to Abide, finding a connect bible study group, or visiting various churches until one feels like home. Also seek counseling. Look at various programs in your community if you are concerned about cost. Contact your insurance to see you your coverage options. Contact your HR representative to see what programs your employer provides. There is no excuse. This is your life and you decide if you want happiness. I decided I want to be happy and that starts with me.
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