I’m not crazy… I think!

I suffer from anxiety attacks. It got so bad that at one point I was on medication. Medication only masked the anxiety and made me feel better in that moment. I am not an advocate for medication as the first and only option to mental health. I am an advocate of acknowledging and treating the root of mental health issues.

I remember one time having an anxiety attack on the floor in my room when I was a teenager.  I was told to“just stop it”. I realize that was a common way to deal with things, to dismiss it but I don’t think anyone knew what I was dealing with. Mental health is not something openly discussed in families and my issue was never addressed as being a mental problem. Even though they probably thought I was crazy I’m really not…I think. I was just labeled as sensitive or emotional as if every little thing that hurt my feelings would set me off crying and hyperventilating, while in reality most of the times there was nothing to provoke my anxiety. I would get this tingly feeling coursing thru my body; my chest would get tight, couldn’t breathe and start to hyperventilate.  My anxiety actually got worse when I went to college. I had a lot to be worried about.  After many visits to the ER I was diagnosed with Generalized AnxietyDisorder and given medication to take whenever I felt myself getting anxious or feeling out of breath. At first it felt good to have this light airy feeling of euphoria over me and then I realized it was just a band aid. Like most prescription meds it didn’t cure my anxiety it made me dependent on it, so eventually I stopped taking them.(Do miss that euphoria feeling sometimes though) I started to go to the counseling center on my schools campus because for me I felt that I needed to talk to someone. I am the person that holds things in and then explodes later on, so it was very weird sitting there telling some stranger how I felt and her just staring back at me. I needed to be comfortable with her and it was a process that I found was helpful in me managing my anxiety. Many days I’m great and some nights I can’t sleep. I have headaches, irritability, lightheadedness, and feel out of breath. My acceptance of my anxiety allows me to seek ways to treat and cope with it. Writing is therapy for me, music is my drug and freedom of expression heals me.

Mental health is a how we think, feel and behave as we deal with life. It’s in direct relation with how we deal with stress, deal with others and make choices.  Even unhealthy relationships can affect our mental health. Don’t let anyone stress you out so much that you get depressed, have feelings of emptiness or low-self esteem, or put up with emotional abuse by a partner. Relationships should uplift and add quality to your life, not make you feel bad. Many people who have mental health conditions consider their signs and symptoms a normal part of life or avoid treatment out of shame or fear. There is a stigma with admitting that something may be wrong or seeing a therapist. Family and friends should be supportive in dealing with mental health conditions but not help perpetuate or trivialize their loved one’s symptoms.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so regardless of having a mental health condition EVERYONE needs to maintain healthy mental health practices. Every bad emotion is not a mental health condition but we as humans need to take care of our minds just as much as ours bodies. Our health is more than just our physical health it is our spiritual and mental health combined. Mental health conditions can lead to serious complications such as ulcers, migraines, high blood pressure, chronic pain and even heart attacks.  

We need to lean on others who are sensitive to what we are going through and have open communication in discussing our feelings, needs and wants. IT IS OKAY TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. You are not weak! It takes a lot of strength to ask for help. Listen to your body. Acknowledge your feelings and emotions. Take time to breathe. Listen to music. Read. Dance. Be active. Be still. Meditate.Write. Laugh. Paint. Sing. Love. HEAL.

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Posted on May 8, 2011, in Conscious and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Dat just might be da realest ish yu eva wrote….or atleast da realest ish I eva read. Powerful.

  2. Thanks for sharing this.

    My little sister has anxiety attacks. I didn’t know until she was older It’s a very serious issue and from the way it’s been described to me it can feel like death.

    While were fortunate enough to have a mother who paid choose attention to our health, too many others are not nearly as fortunate. What do you think needs to be done to help children and even adults who don’t have the support of their loved ones?

    • Yes it feels like your about to die. Its very scary. I believe that people who do not have the support of their families need to find that support elsewhere. I had 1 very good friend that no matter what was always there for me and didnt make me feel crazy. But people need to talk to a therapist/counselor, go to support groups. Support is so important to healing, if someone is there to just be there when your going thru an attack and pushes you to receive treatment it makes a difference.

  3. Thanks for telling our story. I say our story because I felt as if I was telling my story. Too often family try to disguise the fact that we need help. I was always being told that I was overly sensitive, or too emotional but I knew it was more to it. Its great to have a support system, an outlet to just let go. The Caribbean community for one need to let go of the stigmas associated with mental health. Too often are caribbean men or women committing suicide or losing there mind because no one would listen. Keep spreading the world we have to make a difference.

  4. This article is so honest and inspiring. So many people especially in the African community will not deal with mental health due various reasons. The important thing is to ensure youth overstand that mental health is no different and equally important to our physical health. This article is a serious step in the right direction. Telling our own stories hep others realize its okay to seek help. Thanks again for sharing. Goes to show all the ol’ folks 🙂 we have losts to learn from our youths, just listen!

    • Thank you so much! I was still apprehensive to share but thankfully I’ve had supportive people in my life. Hopefully someone can take something positive away from my story.

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