So today was major for me. I actually sat down at a restaurant, completely alone and had lunch. I didn’t phone a friend or read a book to distract me. Outside of using my phone to write this post, I sat on the patio and enjoyed the fresh air with my headphones on low. (I’m still a work in progress). For some this may all sound silly, but for someone like me, it’s huge.
Years ago, when I lived in Germany I would hop the train by myself to go visit family who lived a few hours away. I had no worries and no care in the world. I even got stuck in Italy once by myself and had to take a couple of trains that were literally jammed pack with people to get back to Germany. I enjoyed every minute of that trip. Although I didn’t speak the language (learned a few words from my travels though), I was completely fine, no anxiousness, no worries.
So when did things change?
When did just the thought of walking into a room full of strangers or shopping in a mall or a grocery store full of people become overwhelming to me?
I never had anxiety growing up. My grandmother always described me as being a nervous child, but I had never experienced this paralyzing, the room was closing in on me type of feeling, that generated my fight or flight senses before. It’s overwhelming, scary and can be a little embarrassing at times. I’ve gone through some pretty traumatic stuff but, I never thought it affected me as much as it has.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34
There’s this stigma that people of color don’t need therapy. “Therapy is for everyone else, not you”, is literally what I was told by someone I knew. He felt like it showed a sign of weakness, but honestly that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is NOTHING WEAK about acknowledging something isn’t right and seeking help to fix it! Some people reach out to their pastors’ or others in leadership or people around them. I’ve done that in the past, but this time I needed more. So I prayed about it and chose to talk to someone.
Over the years, I really never put two and two together, the name and my issue. Not until my therapists looked at me and told me, while I sat in her office fidgeting like a five year old that I had anxiety and major depressive disorder. Now I’m pretty familiar with psychology, studied it heavily in undergrad and even studied it a bit further during a brief stint in graduate school. So when she said those words to me, I wasn’t devastated or even shocked. I actually felt an overwhelming sense of relief.
Maybe deep down inside I already knew, but I just refused to give it a name. But this time, it was unavoidable, she had given a name to what I was feeling and now it was up to me, to choose what to do from that point on. Just like with my old running spirit ( Read Running – Overcoming the Spirit of Fear) and my feelings of unworthiness (Read Am I Really Worthy?), I chose to face it head on. I’m a fighter and an overcomer. I won’t back down nor will I be defeated.
And Jesus said to him “”If You can?” All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23
By the grace of God even death couldn’t hold me back. So why, if I’m covered by God’s grace and mercy should I let the baggage it left behind continue to weigh me down? Don’t let the baggage of your past hurts and traumas continue to weigh you down. Choose to put them down and leave them on the curb for the garbage man to collect. The diagnosis for me is just words, it has no power over me, I refuse to let it. Don’t give that baggage more power than it should have. It doesn’t define you, it isn’t who you are! You know who you are and who’s you are in Christ. So again I ask, what’s in a name?…
Today I took a big step on this journey to regain my freedom! Join me and take back your freedom as well. ~ Tashauna
” I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4