Written by Chrys Minter
I could never forget the day I was ministering with the first lady of a church I was attending. My heart started fluttering and I became completely flushed and scared.
These symptoms were not new to me and they were often followed by chest pains and heart palpitations.
I didn’t know what was going on, but my first lady did. She told me I was experiencing an anxiety attack.
Although I didn’t have a word for it back then, I had suffered with anxiety from the time I was 16 until my early 20s. The symptoms would be so severe that I would often go to the emergency room thinking I was dying.
The Church Couldn’t Help
I tried talking to fellow church members about it, and everyone I talked to, told me that I was fine. They didn’t want to touch the issue, but I knew that there was something really wrong.
In my experience, anxiety is more talked about than depression. It can be viewed as a normal, more tolerated illness, but it’s not. Over 30 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety, which makes it one of the leading types of mental illnesses. Anxiety is a silent illness. Most of the time you cannot tell that someone is suffering from it, and because of that, only 30 percent get help.
Anxiety can disrupt your life and lead to or worsen other mental and physical illnesses.
I Was Abused Physically, Verbally and Mentally
Looking back now, I see that my anxiety stemmed from what I endured in my childhood. I was abused physically, verbally as well as mentally by my parents. I was constantly told I’d never be anything. I was never good enough in my parents eyes.
Eventually the anxiety linked up with my low self esteem. I wasn’t loved at home by my parents, so I didn’t know what love was. I knew what love wasn’t, according to how I was treated.
Looking for relief, I gravitated toward anyone who claimed to love me but it ultimately made me feel worse because it was based on what I could do for them.
I Had to Heal Myself
I was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. My doctor put me on medication, but it made me physically sick.
I had looked for healing at the doctor’s office, in a church building and even in romantic relationships, but I eventually ended up healing myself spiritually and naturally.
One of the best things that ever happened to me was receiving a book on meditation and yoga.
Using the book, I taught myself to heal with yoga, meditation and writing.
If you are a black lesbian experiencing symptoms like I did, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Please get help. Talk to a therapist, get a diagnosis and make self care a regular part of your life.
Featured courtesy of Liberations Photography.