Have you ever felt so much at one time that you can't feel anything anymore? If this feeling is familiar to you, you might struggle with anxiety, and you are not alone.
Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults in the U.S., a large percentage of those affected are black women. Women of color are less likely to publicly confront or address their struggles with stress and anxiety because they fear being stigmatized. Luckily, as of late, more and more celebrities are speaking out and shifting the narrative and the stigma about mental health in the black community.
British model Jourdan Dunn is the latest to speak out about her struggles with her mental health. On the outside, Dunn lives a life similar to many other millennial women. What some people might not know is that she cares for her six-year-old son with sickle cell anemia, all the while maintaining a career as an international supermodel.
Recently, the model posted a tweet on her Instagram that read, "Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired [at] the same time. It's the fear of failure, but no urge to be productive. It's wanting friends but hate socializing. It's wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely. It feels [like] everything at once so it's like you numb."
Her caption read, "My life in a tweet."
Dunn's career jump-started when she was discovered by a modeling agency when she was 15. In 2014, she secured the #1 spot on the Forbes top earning models list, becoming the first black British model to earn a spot on the line-up. Though the 27-year-old superstar has lived a seemingly star-studded life, this isn't the first time Dunn has opened up about her struggle with anxiety. In January, the model penned an open letter that was posted on Instagram about her recent struggle with anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.
"My insecurities had me questioning myself everyday. What am I doing? Where am I going? Will I ever be hired again? My career has been a roller coaster of rejection and support. I've recently learned that vulnerability isn't a weakness it's a strength."
Women of color are becoming more transparent about their battle with mental health, and the movement is igniting the change that we desperately need to see in our community. I wasn't aware that many other women of color dealt with anxiety until I was bold enough to talk about it candidly with my peers.
My family calls me "Stormy" because I have a hard time controlling my emotions. I had come to the decision that I couldn't carry the weight of the world on my shoulders alone, so I sought help from my homegirls and discovered that many of them struggled with the same issue.
When I was 17, I started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicine, and the dosage was way off. I felt like a zombie, and I didn't feel like I was making healthy decisions, so I stopped my prescription. When I was 18, I had my first panic attack. It was the first time my anxiety had gotten that bad, and it literally felt like I was going into cardiac arrest.
At times, it feels like there is no amount of positive self-talk that can pull you out of your funk. Even when you feel like you should be counting your blessings, you feel numb and disassociated with things you would normally be enthusiastic about.
Your battle with stress and/or anxiety can make the future seem bleak, but hold on to your optimism. There are multiple options available to help manage your nerves and create a better quality of life because we need your black girl magic at full capacity. If medicine isn't for you, there are more holistic approaches to coping with stress and managing your anxiety.
Here is a list of some things you can do to ease your anxiety without medication:
Super cliche, I know, but practicing yoga has helped me find time in the day to be completely present rather than worrying myself to death with past or future experiences. Manage the chaos going on in the outside world by gaining control of your mind. Sometimes you just have to experience this moment. Right here, right now.
Manage Your Intake
Take the week to monitor what you feed your body. Does your diet include high doses of caffeine or sugar? Are you eating well-balanced meals that give you the energy to get through your day? What you eat and drink may be affecting how you feel. Add plenty of vitamin B and Omega-3s to your diet if you're feeling tired or anxious.
Running has always been great for my anxiety because it gives my endless amount of jitters an outlet. If running isn't really your thing, studies show that any kind of aerobic exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants.
My experience with antidepressants was isolated and it was pretty likely that I was given a dosage that wasn't right for me, but, if you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety and these suggestions don't help, please contact a doctor.
Like Jourdan Dunn, we sometimes suffer in silence. With healthy coping mechanisms and a good support system your anxiety can be managed. Are you struggling with anxiety? Share some coping methods you use in the comments, they just might help a sister out.