You ever feel like you’ve been living a double life? Like you’ve only been revealing a part of yourself to the world and hiding the rest?
I feel like people read and follow my blog because of my honesty, so let me start off with a few confessions:
I went from a size 2 to a size 6.
I was known for my great complexion and I now have acne.
I was told that there is a possibility of becoming infertile.
The most difficult admission: I receive treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
I started this post several times and deleted it out of fear of everyone’s reactions.
Would I be judged?
Would people think I was seeking attention?
Would people think I’m lying?
Do people even care?
I feel as though, as Black people, we are taught to go to church, not therapy growing up. We are taught that our internal struggles are between us and God and it is not for anyone else to know.
Why though? Why do we teach ourselves to suffer in silence?
Let’s talk about it. Let’s get real.
All of my life I had little signs of mental health issues, but I felt the need to hide them. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and flat out crazy.
One thing that I’m definitely realizing as I get older is that your mental health and physical health go hand in hand.
As most people know, I have a seizure disorder. A week after celebrating being 6 months seizure-free (yay!), I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and told that I have cysts on both of my ovaries.
Although they do cause pain sometimes, the issue is not the cysts themselves. The real confidence busters are the symptoms that come along with PCOS. Last time I went to the doctor, I weighed 164 pounds. Mind you, I usually stay around 130-135. Aside from that, everyday it seems as though I wake up with a new pimple because my hormones are so out of whack.
There’s this ideal image of what a Black woman should be and how she should look.
Curvy. Thick hips. Small waist.
So what happens when those curves turn into rolls? *gives side eye realness*
These days, I’m constantly asked by men:
“Have you gained weight?”
“Have you been drinking water? Your skin is really broken out.”
Nah, for real? *stale face*
I remember reading an article about Gabrielle Union’s book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, where she discusses how people constantly ask her why she doesn’t have kids. She would just say that she doesn’t want them because she didn’t want to have to tell people that she may not be able to have any.
Although I am definitely not trying to have children right now, the closer I get to 30, the more I get asked about if I want children. The answer is yes.
However, I constantly have to tell people that I just want to adopt because I already know that between my seizure disorder and my PCOS, that pregnancy would be a challenge for me and might not even be possible.
These physical things have definitely been very trying mentally.
How do you accept the fact that you’re 27 and taking the same blood pressure pills as your parents? How do you cope with none of your clothes fitting anymore?
It’s extremely challenging when sometimes your mind doesn’t feel like your own and now neither does your body.
I say all of this to say that you can be on 2 sides of a situation: either something is mentally or physically affecting you directly or something could be going on with someone around you and your reaction can determine their next action.
I’ll tell anyone that the best thing that I ever did for myself was get help. If you are struggling with anything, talk to someone about it. The sooner you get help for yourself, the better you will be.
And on the other side of things, if you see something going on with someone, be courteous and be kind because you never know where that other person may be mentally.
One of the most annoying things that I hate to hear is: “Don’t worry about it. It’s so common.”
That’s fine and all, but in this moment, whatever that thing may be is everything to me. Don’t try to comfort someone by minimizing their situation.
I know this post is a bit long and all over the place, but if it resonates with even just one person, then it is all worth it to share a bit of my story.
Be mindful and cognizant of yourself and others.
Stay blessed, souls.