A few years ago, you wouldn’t have convinced me that anxiety is a real. I mean, it’s only a state of the mind. Right? My experience with anxiety is different. I came to learn of its existence the hard way. Simply put, through experience. I vividly remember my first doctor’s appointment. “It’s normal for people her age. She watches too much TV. Keep her off the screen and she will be a-okay.” I followed the doctor’s orders to the letter but for some reason, nothing seemed to change. It was all the same. The trembling, hyperventilation and dizziness never went away.
Fast forward two years later, I opted to seek a second opinion. This time, I was hopeful they would find the root cause of my symptoms. “You have a heart condition. It is not very serious but try and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, do not partake in rigorous activities.” The diagnosis came as a shock to me but at least they had found the root cause of my symptoms and this time, I was sure the symptoms would never resurface. Or so I thought.
The signs and symptoms only seemed to worsen over the years until I decided to book an appointment with a cardiologist. One of the country’s most renowned. After what seemed like endless tests, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. It was also brought to my attention that anxiety can sometimes mimic heart conditions.
I am scheduled to begin therapy in a few weeks. I am hopeful but nervous. Especially because of the stigma on therapy. Or in the words of many, “Ukienda kwa shrink umechizi.”
All in all, I hope this inspires you to spread awareness on mental health, to embrace the state you are in and to seek help.
In the words of Raquel Franco, “Vulnerability is scary but pure in it, you can find bravery.”