mental health

The Fight For My Life ~ A Personal Reflection On Mental Health

The first time Tuebi told me she had anxiety issues. I didn’t understand, I’m also pretty sure I scrunched my nose up and thought to myself “What a butty thing to say”, probably said it out loud too. I was clueless about mental health and I was about to be schooled.

The beginning

In January 2018, I can’t remember when exactly but my heart started racing at an unusual rate. I hadn’t been running or doing anything physically tasking. I wasn’t thinking of anything mentally that made me anxious.

Yet, my heart was racing and it was draining the strength out of me as I sat in my office. That was the first day I had the attack and I was sure it would be the last. Wrong!

Again, it woke me up from sleep. I felt like I was waking up to a nightmare. Why was this happening to me? I did my tests as the Doctor asked.

P.S. never have I ever felt the need to have an HMO that covered these expenses for me. I did my tests, an ECG and a chest X-Ray. My results came out fine but as I laid on that bed at the hospital, my heart was racing, I didn’t feel like my results said. I wasn’t fine.

mental health
Credit: Big Think

Are you worried about anything?

I’m always worried about something. Mostly work. So when I am asked that question, I’m already mentally drained from answering.

You’re fine Chidera. You need to rest and stop thinking of whatever is making you manifest these symptoms.


I took a break from work. I had to take drugs to help me feel better especially at night. During the day, I worked on controlling my breath and restricting my thought to happy thoughts. At night, my heart rates increased, my chest hurts and I worry that this is the new cycle my life will have to endure.

What was wrong with me?

Some people have anxiety attacks, some people have panic attacks, they aren’t the same thing. I had panic attacks. According to research, symptoms of panic attacks include sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, a choking sensation, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, fear of losing your mind, fear of dying, flushing, feeling that danger is nearby, a racing heart (heart palpitations), and feeling an intense need to escape.

On my end, I had chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness and that intense need to escape from the reality I lived in at the moment.

The reality

mental health
Graphic design by mental health activist Niyi Okeowo

I was afraid. Afraid of the possible future. Most people tell you not to worry about tomorrow but that’s quite hard when the plans you make today are for tomorrow. Asides from taking my drugs, I also tried hard not to worry about things beyond my control.

January 29th, 2018, I thought about taking my own life. I have a pen knife that I carry around in my bag. That evening sadness overwhelmed me that I thought of killing myself. Funny thing is that it had been creeping on me and even though I had worked on being happier, I felt like I was in quicksand. I felt like this was the escape I needed. Wrong!

People battle with anxiety attacks, panic attacks, depression, extreme feeling of sadness, self-doubt, insecurities and more. Some people will tell you to get over it, get over yourself. I probably would have said the same in the past, I was wrong.


The truth

Your battle and fears are valid. Have them but don’t let them drown you. Find your happy place. Surround yourself with people who make you feel safe. Protect your energy from the demon in your head. Seek growth above all things. Seek professional help. Do whatever it takes to make sure you accomplish your purpose here.


This is a personal experience and I am no authority in the field. However, I’d like to know about your own experience and how you’ve been able to cope in the comment section below. 


9 thoughts on “The Fight For My Life ~ A Personal Reflection On Mental Health

  1. I’ve never been one to disprove mental health as a concept. But I love the idea of taking responsibility because it gives a sense of control and ownership of a problem that can be fixed even if not by self… this is powerful and intimately personal. Write more.

  2. Beautiful piece…….. The ideology that mental health is synonymous with parading the streets half naked needs to change. Alot of youngsters in our generation are battling with depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders. We need to spread the word and correct this wrong ideology.

  3. wow! thought i was d only 1 i’ve been battling with depression 4 sometime nw bt thankfully when i learnt my joy only comes 4rm God, i hv bcome a much happier person

  4. I have always battled with anxiety and panic attacks for as long as I can remember and this article really hit close to home. The first step I believe is knowing what you’re experiencing because in that moment it might feel like death.
    Thank you for sharing this, I hope it helps other people understand that they are not alone and they can seek help.

    1. Thank you Mama for sharing with me! It’s funny how we go through things like this alone when we can lean on one another. Please let me know how I can help when anything surfaces. We are stronger together.

      Stay gracious. xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top