By Keischa Pruden | Jul 5, 2021

My name is Keischa Pruden. I am a therapist. I am dealing with depression and anxiety.

The last 15 months have been…. interesting, to say the least. The world has seen its share of death, sadness, madness, disbelief, and now, a recovery. We are working our way to a new normal, a new way of being. During this time, many of us have thrived. Businesses have been born, weight has been lost, freedom has been attained through pure rest from the hustle and bustle of our old lives. I watch events around me with a mix of emotions: happiness, wariness, hopefulness, and a relief of sorts. Why am I experiencing this myriad of emotions? I have been experiencing depression and anxiety for at least 8 of the last 15 months.
It may seem strange to see this. How in the world can a therapist be depressed? You may ask yourself. “Don’t they spend all day helping other people NOT be depressed?” The answers to those questions are both simple and complex. But come with me as I share my mental health journey with you. Maybe, in the end, you will have a better understanding of my experiences.

How It Started
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was prepared. I had my plan. I was going to do telehealth, improve my health, and expand my business. I just knew everything would work out. After all, I am a “Type A” individual, so I have learned to plan, execute, and plan again. Things were going great for a while. My yard work was coming along. I was working out and eating right, so I was losing weight and my other numbers were decreasing as well. Sure, we were sequestered because of COVID, but my sons and I were able to have long, intimate conversations, that while sometimes were uncomfortable, were sorely needed. We even worked out together. Awesome right?

The Challenges

In July, I had unexpected minor surgery, probably from stress on my body from working in my yard, working out, and walking 5 miles per day.

In August, my youngest son, Bryant’s, senior year started. Dealing with his “Type B” personality along with his ADHD (and mine – yikes) was stressful.

We made it to 2021 without a lot of fanfare. But then tragedy struck. In February, my husband Paul lost one of his best spiritual friends, “Mr. Buck”, as I loved to call him. That was a rough time.

April brought with it the unexpected passing of Paul’s father. Words cannot express the pain we all felt at that time and continue to feel. The whole experience was traumatic and surreal. Paul pushed through and was the strength his family needed; I know Mr. Pruden smiled down from heaven. It was shortly after the funeral that I could no longer deny what was going on with me: I was out of “push through.” I had nothing left- biologically, psychologically, socially, or spiritually. All I wanted to do was sleep. I stopped walking and working on my flowers, two activities I LOVE to do. I was tired all the time. I was irritable and anxious. My prayer life had all but dried up and I had stopped reading my Bible. Yep, this therapist was depressed and anxious. I had to ask myself, “Can I continue to fulfill my roles effectively?” The answer was a resounding yes. But I knew I some changes to make.

The Process of Recovery
In true therapist form, I created a whole wellness plan…
1. Biologically, I knew I had to return to working out and eating right, along with increased water intake and medicine compliance.
2. Psychologically, I knew I had to pivot my perspective on life on purpose.
3. It was time to start journaling again. I also knew I had to capture my negative thoughts and turn them into negative thoughts before they made a permanent home in my mind and spirit.
4. Socially, it was time to lean on my intimate friends and loved ones. Talking with people can be therapeutic within itself, especially when you know you can count on ones you trust for authenticity and confidentiality. 5. Spiritually, I started to pray and read my bible more. And on the days I feel uncertain, sad, or anxious, I recount all the times My Creator has saved me, blessed me, and favored me.

In recent spirit conversations I have had with My Creator, I have asked, “What is the lesson you want me to learn during this time?” The answer is always the same, “Trust me and rest.” So that is what I am working on doing. I have not started back walking yet, but my youngest son suggested we start next week. I am not going to “push through” as I have done in the past. If I feel up to walking, I will. If I don’t, I won’t. My flowers are thriving, and I have been enjoying them; they make my soul smile.

Depression and anxiety do not rule my days like they once did a few weeks and months ago. I am a work in progress, and there is nothing wrong with that.

About The Author

To learn more about Keischa Pruden, please visit our website www.cliniciansofcolor.org


Keischa Pruden

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