*Long post* (Be a champ and read to the end, haha)
It’s interesting, as a writer you might think words coming to mind would come easily. To the contrary when it involves unleashing my deepest thoughts, it is the hardest. But like most occurrences in life nothing is ever easy. I feel that I use to be the type where I welcome challenges because I have such a chill demeanor, and I know I’ll overcome it. But even the most stubborn and no nonsense Taurus like me gets emotional, and as of late anxious. The challenges I have faced not only this summer but during the month of September made me feel on some days, powerless. Coming from the writer that expresses people’s stories that I feel exude power, and here I felt powerless. But what I failed to realize I never lost my power.
Day by day in September, my brain screeched with my own thoughts and cringed when something I wanted didn’t turn out to be mine. Yeah, I’m speaking a little bit cryptically because there are some things I do not yet want to share. But what I will express is that self-care is not only important, but for some like me, it is necessary. So not to make what I have felt a cry for help, allow me to describe some thoughts.
I am convinced that I have some form of anxiety. A feeling that I don’t quite know how to define, but I know what it means for me. Anxiety is something I hadn’t really faced growing up or even early on in my young adult years. From what I can remember, I began to experience anxiety when I was “laid-off” from my first job out of college at 25. I had been there close to 3 years. Though it was made known to me 4 months prior by a so-called supervisor that it probably would happen after a merger, nothing could prepare me for that June 12th day when it actually did. After that devastating day, I almost immediately fell into a slump. I began having what I thought was heartburn but realized much later it was some form of anxiety. Some nights, I would wake-up and alert my mom I was having heart palpitations and couldn’t sleep. I even had her climb in bed with me to help ease my sleepless nights. Let me just say, that twin bed made it pretty tight for us both, but my mom is the realest and was always down. 🙂
My parents honestly thought what I was feeling was heartburn. So much so that I saw a gastroenterologist, had a procedure done to see what was going on inside, down to taking medicine for my supposed heartburn! I even at one point during that time saw a cardiologist because the palpitations sent me to the E.R. on more than one occasion. My primary doctor thought it was best to see a cardiologist to be on the safe side. I had a stress test done, check-ups, but with no major findings from E.R. and specialist doctors. I was lost and stumped on what it could be. I can remember now that each time I felt these heart palpitations it was either when my mind was racing with so many thoughts, or when I attempted to go to sleep and my mind REALLY began to wander. After the cardiologist did what she could to get to the bottom of what I was experiencing, she recommended I see a behavior therapist.
During that time in seeing the therapist helped to address my feelings, and confront some of them. It worked for a time up until what I recall turning 26, and essentially kicked off of my dad’s insurance and then had none of my own. So I felt I was left with my own coping skills, which at that time was just keeping things inside. Which duh, isn’t a good way to cope, but it was my way. A way of just leaving whatever feelings I had alone and just move on, or so I thought. You see, I know now, fast forward x amount of years since then, it doesn’t work to keep everything in. Speaking for myself, keeping in my emotions didn’t and currently doesn’t help. Weirdly and strangely enough September taught me that. A month, a word, a placement on our yearly calendar taught me that I have to speak up. A month that even though had a highlight of my book’s release (proud moment), should’ve been also filled with more journaling, more self-expression, and more power.
Trust me, I ain’t complaining. But plainly saying, months ago I should’ve given myself more room to cry. I should’ve given myself the space to talk out my emotions. Yeah, I experienced some great moments this year, and I am grateful. However, you don’t wait until (excuse my language) shit hits the fan and then eagerly and crazily try to clean it up. True, shit should NEVER be on a fan when thinking about it literally haha, but I get the meaning. I am also not blaming myself as I’ve done too much of that this summer. But I am owning up to the fact that when I felt powerless, defeated, overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, doubt, I should have addressed it. Because allowing those emotions (too many) to boil over at one time did not help me.
I do want to clarify that I am not on the brink of a major breakdown. Though what I will say is, if I allow those array of emotions to pile on me too much longer, a breakdown is NOT what I want to happen. Period. I have too much talent, too much sass, too much growth, too much love, too much of many things to have those type of emotions bring me to that point. I’ve come too far and a sleepless night because of anxiety will not crush me, it just can’t. Again, I’ve come too far and there’s so much more to see and accomplish.
So as September officially ends in a few hours I want to acknowledge my mental health. My anxiety isn’t completely gone but I am serious about getting it controlled. I have begun some “me time” ways to help in the meantime such as reading more books, meditating, starting my mornings (more than usual) with a thoughtful prayer, and this right here writing for me.
Let’s keep the mental health conversation going, and advocating for ourselves and those whose voices are muted. The time for speaking up, whatever that means for you, couldn’t happen at a better time, no matter the month. It’s an everyday growth.
From my heart to yours,