I felt embarrassed at first to feel like I needed to seek help…

By Ashanti Middleton

I felt embarrassed at first to feel like I needed to seek help...speak to a therapist or a counselor or something...those are not really things that most "black" people go through, right?

My name is Ashanti Middleton and I am the Host and Executive Producer of a rapidly growing tv show called Taste & Toast with Ashanti Middleton. In each episode, I travel to a different restaurants and interview the owners, chefs, and bartenders about their venues and cuisine, then we Taste and Toast to some their most signature dishes on the menu. My dream is that this show gets picked up by a major network, that I get some corporate sponsors, and that this show becomes a huge success. Trust me, I'm well on my way. But this journey is everything but easy.

Anxiety, worry, and nervousness plagues me sometimes. Thoughts like, "what if it never gets picked up?", and "where am I gonna get the money to continue shooting this project", are just 2 of the many things that are constantly stuck in my brain. Some days I feel like a power house. Other days I feel like I need to give it up.

But if you know me, you'll know that I am the rock in LITERALLY everyone's life. Ashanti sad? Never. Ashanti depressed? No way. That's how my friend's, family, and peers view me. And for a long time I felt like I needed to keep that persona up.

The anxiety and panic attacks were increasing. There are days that these attacks wake me up out of what little sleep I actually do get. Heart racing, shortness of breath...its a nightmare. 

I got some relief the minute I admitted to myself that I am going through something. It even felt good to write that just now. And now that I have admitted it, I told myself, you're health is in jeopardy. I began to research stress, anxiety, worry and made an instant connection: so this is half the reason why my body aches so much. I wasn't aware that mental illness do indeed play a role on us physically.

I just recently went to the doctor, and he reassured me that talk therapy is more helpful than we can imagine, even after just 2 or 3 sessions. He referred me to a few mental therapists throughout New York and I feel more confident about it. These people are just a phone call away if I needed them. And it feels good knowing that.