The wind on my face, the track underneath my spikes, the sound of my breath, the unified sound of the crowd screams mixed with the sounds of the wind… I remember the feeling of making sure I won without worrying about the next runner; I ran my own race. When I did so, I won. That was the point- to win.
But now, my journey has changed from racing for a gold medal, to racing for my peace of mind. Some of what I am about to say may be news to some of you, but just a refresher and awareness for the others.
So, I’ll reintroduce myself to you. Hi! I’m Shelby and I struggle with Anxiety & Depression. We all know Mental Health is something that is swept under the rug in the black community. We tell our sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, etc. to just pray about It and stay positive. But what do you do when you do all of this already? Sometimes, and in most cases, we actually need professional help, but are too prideful to get it and feel discouraged by our friends and families to go. So below, I am going to share my story, because this is what my blog is all about. I hope I can help someone find their strength to get help.
Since I was in high school, I struggled with my mental health; I began to go to a therapist my junior year and then shortly after, I stopped. Things were tough, but they got better once I got my dog, Cody. Skipping a couple years later to college, things really got bad for me because it was the end of track and my other extra-cirricular activities. I was now in the real world and dealing with real drama. I ended friendships, lost my grandmother, ended a long drawn out relationship, and had to find myself as Shelby, the individual, not Shelby, the track star or student-athlete or Captain anymore.
Shelby, the individual, lost herself in other people most of the time. I stopped running my race. I began to switch majors out of confusion of who I wanted to be in life. I started to feel less important and less productive to be honest. These were the years, I probably should have decided to get back in therapy btw, but instead, I found passion and comfort in my friends and family. I felt important because I was always their ear and shoulder. I felt strong and needed. I feel balanced! I still do, thanks to them! I can honestly say, if it weren’t for cody, jupiter, meme, daddy, Relle, telair, sarah, Cyril, Telli, Taylor, Trichelle, and Kiara, I have no clue who or where I’d be!
After college, I moved straight to Houston. I was working a job that was draining me and then finally began working for the company of my dreams. Yet, still I am unhappy. I was in a pretty emotionally damaging relationship and because of all of those factors, I went back to therapy, almost 2 years after moving to Houston. In therapy, this go-round, I began to ask more questions and be more forthcoming. I also decided I needed another baby, which brought me Jupiter, my cat. This helped me end a toxic pattern and relationship, this also helped me finally come to grips with my struggle with my anxiety. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety that had ultimately triggered depression.
Those who know me, would not know anything is wrong because I am what we call, “high functioning.” In other words, I can put a smile on my face, be productive and crush my goals, but suffer in silence. This does not mean I am unhappy where I am, it just means that my brain has a chemical imbalance that has began to get beyond my control. This does not mean that I do not pray daily or do things that I don’t love, it just means that now, I need some extra help. This does not make me incapable or need to be looked at as a sad case, it just means that I am a work in progress. People often mock me for the love i have for my pets. I call them my kids and though it is funny, understand, they have saved me. They give me something to look forward to. They give me unconditional love. So mock me all you want, but know they have helped me more than anyone has.
I currently struggle everyday. I have great days and then I have bad ones. But the support of my family, friends, and therapist, have helped me through. My blog has also helped me through! Again, I am not someone who has the answers to everything; God has placed me here for a reason and to Share my story for a reason. I find comfort knowing I can shed light on my trials and possibly give hope to those who are suffering in silence. Please know you do not have to. I have gone through life always feeling like I am not understood and not heard and though I feel that way, I know I have support. You will get through your journey in your own way, but understand, you’re not alone.
I have began to run a race towards my peace of mind. That is the ultimate gold medal for me. This something i have to pull myself out of, in gods time, & with constant work; i won’t give up.
So I ask: What are you running for now? What are you running towards? What are you trying to win?