Lavi Chimata

My story begins when I was 10 years old. This was the year I found a suicide note written by someone close to me. This person never ended up taking their life, but I spent the next 20 years thinking it might happen. I ended up burying this event in my mind and tried to go on normally. But this event refused to stay buried and manifested itself as anxiety symptoms: constantly on edge, worried about everything, catastrophizing every situation. 


After I left home and went to college, things got worse. My symptoms became physical ones: acid reflux, unexplained fainting, and panic attacks. Because of the severity of my panic attacks, I began taking medication. The medication helped significantly, but the underlying anxiety was still there lurking around. 


I put on a brave face through all of this and resigned myself to suffering in silence. The panic attacks were mostly gone, but I still experienced a couple of fainting spells and unbearable acid reflux. I also fell in love during this time and thought I was going to marry this man. But we broke up, and I fell into a deep depression.


During this time, I went to an art therapy retreat held by Brave Girls Club. It was a transformative experience where I finally realized that I needed to shine a light on the dark, shadowy places in my mind. I needed to work through what happened when I was 10 years old.


After I returned home, I found a therapist and began a truly incredible therapeutic experience. Although I had gone to therapy in the past, this time was different because I was finally ready to do the necessary work.


Today, I’m mostly doing well with my mental illnesses. Do I have tough days? Of course. Do certain things still trigger my anxiety and depression? Yup. Do I still take medication? Yes. But the difference is that I know I’m going to be okay because I learned what to do to take care of myself. I know I’ll feel better soon. And that’s all I need to know.

© 2020 by MannMukti

MannMukti pledges to serve all South Asians, recognizing the power hierarchies in our communities, created and maintained by different identities of caste, language, geography, gender, sexuality, and religion that shape individuals' obstacles while seeking mental liberation.