Pandemic 2020-A New Onset
Sept 11th 2001 was the onset of my anxiety, depression, PTSD panic disorder and Hypochondriasis. Although I did not have any family or friends in the world trade center or at the Pentagon, I was still so traumatized by the number of lives lost in a matter of minutes. As an empath, we are often burdened by the hurt and devastation of others. What happened that day quickly caused me to realize that I had no control over my own life and I was no longer safe. The world as I knew it came to an end.
The carefree person I once was, was hidden in a state of constant, 24/7 uncertainty and panic. I began to frequent the emergency rooms because before I knew I was having an onset of a panic disorder, I just thought that I needed medical attention. I felt so physically sick. In my mind, I was dying. As a result I racked up over 70, 000 in emergency room bills that I couldn’t pay for so I eventually had to file bankruptcy.
I eventually could no longer live by myself or drive as I would always be on the side of the road waiting for an ambulance because of a panic attack. My entire family became extremely concerned with what was happening. And because of the stigma associated with mental illness in the black community they refused to accept that I was sick and needed professional help and that I was struggling with an onset of a mental illness.
I so desperately wanted to move on in my life. I wanted to become the Kellene that I knew I could be. I knew it was more for me than panic attacks, ER visits, depression and being on the side of the road scared to death. I made a decision and I was very committed to my healing and meeting the new me that was waiting to arrive. I knew It was time to take a stand for myself and my own healing so I sought professional help. Although my mother and grandmother’s prayers were the foundation of my healing, THERAPY was my healing place!
I began to heal, I began to love myself again, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. By the grace of God, joining support groups, reading articles on ADAA, relating with other stories on ADAA and my determination, I was finally able to FINALLY move on in my life!
I had a beautiful daughter in 2007.
I wrote a book about my journey with anxiety in 2015 and became a Best Selling Author.
I created the Green Heart brand and started my business in 2019.
Things were going great. I still had a daily intentional fight but at this point I had mastered my coping skills and was even able to teach others. I felt so accomplished, so free and so proud of myself for years and years of healing that I gave myself permission to do.
THEN March 2020 my world changed once again, Covid-19.
After the President and Governors confirmed that we are in a global pandemic and we are not safe it felt like an immediate mental health setback. I felt like I felt the morning of Sept 11th all over again. I was face to face with my worst fear, death and loss of control, AGAIN!
As the days went on, the schools were closing, the death tolls were rising and the inability to see and be with my family made me feel so alone and scared. I knew I had to be strong, not just for me but for my daughter and for my community. But I failed, I broke. I was terrified. I didn't understand what was happening, nobody did. I was terrified to leave the house, to get my mail, groceries or even take the trash out. Just in a state of constant FEAR and panic! I couldn't believe this was happening to me all over again. Not after years and years of fighting to be well!
What's worse is that just like my onset of mental illness was Sept 11th I slowly started to see my daughter having an onset as a result of this pandemic. She was seeing me in a constant state of fear, she became very angry seeing black people being killed like we are pieces of meat. It was just so much! It broke my heart to see her witness so much pain and chaos at such a young age. I hated that my hands were tied. I hated that I couldn’t fix it for not just her but myself and my loved ones.
I knew I had to do something. I had to do what was in my control. I had to heal quickly so that I could be there for her because I know how it felt to be misunderstood, scared and having to fight your thoughts, anger, anxiety and depression.
I immediately got back into aggressive therapy and although I had been off of antidepressants for years, with hesitation and disappointment, I went on meds again. My healing was bigger than me. I had to do what I had to do to get better.
I also put my daughter in therapy as well. We did the work together and still do. Her Therapist helped tremendously and I also made sure my daughter knew that mental health conversations are encouraged in our household. I had her back and my Therapist had mine.
Currently, with the help and permission of my doctor, I have been off of the meds for about 4 months now. I was on them the entire pandemic. I decided to work out daily, change my diet and do this naturally for now to see if I can put my coping skills and the things I’ve learned in therapy in the past and during the pandemic to the test. So far, so good. But If I see that things are getting too difficult, I have no hesitation to go back on my meds with the assistance and guidance of my doctor.
My daughter is much better and we are still working hard. She has made tremendous progress and she will continue to do so. She has that same fight in her that I have in me.
We are all still a work in progress but one thing that I do know is that I, my daughter and you deserve the opportunity, treatment and resources to heal just like we did.
I am truly grateful for organizations like ADAA because it’s always a reminder that I am not alone and there are so many others in the fight just like me and my daughter.
Healing from a mental illness is within our reach. We just have to reach for it!
PS. Have you noticed you or your loved ones have been experiencing an onset of anxiety since this global pandemic? Are you interested in learning how to advocate for yourself like I did? I encourage you to take my short mini class where I teach you 5 steps on how to check in with yourself and how to take action to get better.
Get access to my short mini class for FREE at https://www.greenheartuniversity.com/green