Young, Black and Anxious

Hello, all!

So, I enjoy writing and discussing my mental health because there is a huge taboo that is placed on it. People get scared or worry about what others may think when it comes to discussing what is going on in their lives. I am not that person though, I went through years of silently struggling and not understanding what was going on me and because of that, I refuse to not talk about the stresses of my life. I feel like discussing mental health issues not only helps me but it can help other people who are feeling what I’m feeling or going through a similar experience. I am striving to help others and myself when I write these posts. I just want you all to know that while discussing all this. I will continue to make moves in understanding myself and ensuring that I have a happy and successful life. That being said…

I skipped a week of blogging because I had a lot going on that made me very anxious. I spent most days feeling anxious and then I had panic attacks in class. It was horrible. I never qualified myself as a person with anxiety because I compared my experience to other people and figured that since I wasn’t like that person, then I did not have it at all. I knew that I felt anxiety sometimes but it was never frequent.

However, in the last two weeks, I had anxiety or panic attacks almost every day. Sometimes, I thought it was asthma because I felt it in my chest but then I noticed I felt this jittery energy going through my arms and to my hands and I started shaking. I felt this in class most times and I was too afraid to move. I had battles with myself about whether or not I should stay in class, feeling like I had an audience to all of my anxiety or force myself up. My stress was that everyone would watch me go and that the teachers would not only note how silent I was in class but also that I got up in their class.

I found myself trying to jot down everything that could be causing it and breathing deeply but nothing helped until I finally left the room and sat down outside. I’d call or text someone close to me and go on social media to help me calm down. I either sat still and breathed or walked around the floor trying to grasp at my things of comfort like Doctor Who, Harry Potter, music, The Raven Cycle or another book to read.

After my first panic attack in class, I texted my roommates while I was out and one of them called the counseling center on campus and made me an appointment. When I went, the woman calmed me down and told me that there was an anxiety group on campus and said that I should join. This group gives tools to practice to calm anxiety and to better manage it. I started going and it has been great. I know what started the anxiety for me and now that my concerns have passed, I hope to be able to handle things better. I was behind in my work and started getting really impulsive while trying to calm whatever was boiling inside me.

Throughout my anxious moments, I kept thinking about being a black woman with anxiety. I had a teacher who picked on me simply because he thought I had an attitude and didn’t do the reading when in reality, I was sitting there trying to keep still my shaking hands and firmly holding crystals, praying they’d ground me. Hoping that they’d steady me and that my teacher would not choose me. I vocalized my anxiety with my teachers because otherwise, it’s perceived as rude.

I’ve heard so many stories from anxious black girls who tried so hard to hold in those anxious feelings because everyone will see you as a “man black woman”, the black girl with an attitude. It’s so destructive having to hold in those feelings. Holding in those feelings is what brings up anxiety again.

As a black girl, I spent so long holding things in that I don’t even notice it. For the first few panic attacks, I didn’t even know why it was happening. I thought it was just a freak moment because all the crazy things that happened to me wasn’t affecting me. I just kept taking hits and thinking nothing was hitting me and then I just started feeling it all.

The experience really makes me want to move forward being more positive. I want to be softer on myself because I would get annoyed with myself for all the anxiety I was feeling. I’m going to keep going to therapy and going to my anxiety group. I started a bullet journal to keep me focused and I’ve gained a new approach to the story I’ve been writing for the past 3-4 years. Lol. I’m feeling pretty optimistic. I’m still nervous about it happening again. I will implement all that I’ve been learning about myself and what my body needs. I stopped drinking to help me process things better. I feel like, during this time, I need a clear head so that I don’t fall farther down the hole.

Thanks for reading!

Recommendations are:

I wrote this post while bumping into this fucking gem. I can’t wait to watch Black Panther this weekend! Fuck yes

2. The Diviners by Libba Bray. It’s about the occult. It’s all about that spooky paranormal business while also uncovering a mystery! It’s so well written. I’m already ready to read book 2 and 3. SOOO GOOD!

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