I will never forget a conversation with my high-school friend years ago that hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so excited to hear from her and we joked around and laughed about school and our current life situations and then out of nowhere, she hit me with “Meme, are you still worried about everybody liking you?” My initial reaction was confusion and a bit of aggravation. At that time, I didn’t feel like I was trying to make people like me. It appeared that most people genuinely enjoyed who I was. Everyday there was validation from everywhere about how I’m always smiling and that I’m doing a great as Mama to my boys.
The impact of her question didn’t weigh heavy on me until after we said our goodbyes, after my divorce, after I ended friendships with women I should’ve never been friends with and relationships that gave me so much darkness…I never thought the light would come through again. What people didn’t see was that internally, there was so much anxiety and stress because some things about me were being shaped by other people’s interests even the shitty ones because I wanted to be liked and make people happy even at my own mental demise. I was suffering with co-dependency. I would literally fall apart a bit when I would assume people didn’t like me, a very deep hurt within my feelings.
A few years after that conversation, I realized some things about myself that were happening very frequently. No matter how positive the situation, I found myself flipping it around negatively mentally, and a few times a month like clockwork there would be a block of low energy and this dark cloud of funk that I couldn’t shake, and then the fear of everything that I was doing that had me physically stuck and unable to make decisions or move forward with anything. I was depressed and didn’t even know it because that day to day function was still there and I was still smiling most of my days and taking care of my kids.
I decided under my own will that it was time to talk to someone. I found a therapist who later referred me to a psychiatrist. This was something that I needed and there’s no shame…anymore. It was time to get a handle on my issues which I later learned stemmed from my childhood.
Unfortunately, mental illness is like this unspoken thing that a lot of people don’t believe in especially in the African American community. This is mainly because most don’t understand it. Initially, my understanding was that it was just people popping pills to walk around and function normally. The world has taught us to look down on those who need this “medical” help and it’s a shame because people are suffering and not functioning 100% because of the stigma. There are those who are prescribed medicine to keep things under control and they should definitely do that if that works for them. I decided not to go that route. To keep things in check and to help myself, I make sure to not ignore the signs when I feel troubled and to keep up to date on this diagnosis given to me about eight years ago. Understanding and education is key. Also what helps me is a healthy diet and exercise, self love and confidence building which I work on ALL the time. I’m not cured…just managing it.
Dealing with this diagnosis was something that I’ve hid from friends, family and even my husband. I’ve never told any of them that I was diagnosed as being co-dependent. I’ve only shared that a therapy session took place in the past during random conversations about stress or whatever. Having this blog gives me a bigger voice now so I wanted to share my truths to help other women and to really make a difference here. Anxiety and depression is real and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it or try to work through it alone. What you should definitely do is get help for yourself. The information is available to get you feeling your best, living a rewarding life and giving 100% of who you are to the world.
I really hope that this post helps someone, it actually helped me again to share which was extremely difficult to type. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any questions on my diagnosis or steps I took to get help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
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