When I was little, my anxiety manifested in the form of stomach aches. Birthdays, Christmases, funerals, and first days of school were often accompanied by packs of Alka Seltzer and indescribable pain. As an adult, these stomach aches evolved into behavioral challenges and for the first time I was prescribed anti-anxiety medicine.
Klonopin, a pill that I later learned is a common drug in the prescription addiction world, was everything I didn't need in my life. First came the panic attacks, then came the blackouts, and finally, I decided that I was done with pills.
That is, until I took my very first ride to Xanny land and fell in love.
In college, I became dependent on unprescribed meds, namely Adderall and Xanax; one lifted me up while the other brought me back down and soon my addiction became the only way to feel normal. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, my experience is not unique and anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million people across America. One of those people is 35-year-old actress Malika Haqq who recently said that after years of battling anxiety, she was able to trade in her Xanax for CBD oil.
In a recent interview with People, Malika got real about suffering in silence and the mentality shift that ultimately led her to ditch prescription pills:
"A lot of anxiety is very much about the way you process things in your head. So for me, I actually am processing that I'm doing better and feeling better because I'm doing something that's better for myself. It's crazy, but the truth is it really does help. It honestly has done a world of difference for me where anxiety is concerned."
The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star said that while seeing a therapist for her anxiety issues, she discovered the Boston-based full-spectrum CBD line, beam, which has changed her life in more ways than she could have imagined. Malika says that since starting this new wellness practice, she's become the candy lady in her circle of friends, except her "candy" just happens to be CBD oil. CBD, which is legal across all 50 states, is now included in a number of natural beauty, skin, and health products, and for Malika, has been a game-changer when it comes to her perspective on anxiety for the better:
"It's almost like hitting a reset button that makes your body go back to a balanced state. It has been the reset button for me that balances everything out. It's not a heightened moment, it's not a dull moment, it's just right. And it's instant. I would relate it to if you're thirsty and you drink water, however long it takes to feel hydrated is how long it takes for the CBD to kick in, in my personal experience."
Don't get it confused, chemical imbalances are real, sis; Malika is NOT telling you to trade in your psychiatrist for a bag of weed and some CBD oil. The actress says that while Xanax is no longer how she chooses to manage her anxiety, there was a point in time where medication was totally necessary.
"It isn't that those things didn't help me, but I actually needed to be on medication. But the older I've gotten, I've gotten wiser and more protective of myself and the things I put in my body."
As a reality star that is constantly in the public eye, Malika says that initially it was difficult to open up about her struggles with mental illness publicly. Nobody can lie to you like you can, but as you get older, denial gets old, too. Malika said that ultimately her decision to talk about her anxiety came out of a need to be honest with herself:
"I think that the more you mature and become self-aware, you spend less time caring about what people think about what you're doing and spend more time actually taking care of yourself and your well-being. What I've learned is the best way to handle or deal with your discomforts in life is to be honest about them."
She said that although it isn't necessary to spill all your tea, sometimes the strongest thing you can do is find the courage to ask for help:
"It doesn't mean you have to scream them from the rooftops, but it's almost impossible to get help with something that people don't know about. So often we struggle with things out of fear that someone will judge us. There are so many people that are afraid to say, 'I'm struggling.' I'm going, 'I struggled, and I still do with stress on a daily basis.' I'm happy to be someone that's out there going, 'You don't have to speak up, I'll speak up for us.'"
Anyone with anxiety knows that living with mental illness is a marathon, not a sprint. Although every day is a new battle to become free of fear, she's headed into her newfound lifestyle with a warrior's mentality:
"Some days are better than others.Those days that I'm not doing that great, trust me — I'm CBD oiling it down, in the morning in my tea, then I'm going on about my day, just doing the very best that I can."
Read Malika's full interview here!
Featured image by @Malika/Instagram.