Introducing Gracefully Broken, Tackling Christian Life & Mental Health

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I suffer from anxiety attacks.

I am a Christian.

I pray daily.

I read the Word of God every day.

I didn’t think it was really bad until l had an attack recently which became explosive. Let me take you through the experience so as to shed some light on this disease that most Christians would prefer to not to discuss openly.

It was on a Sunday evening when l decided to pay my then boyfriend a visit. The trip there was so we could have a conversation about our relationship, which was on the brink of collapsing. When l was trying to talk to him, he simply wasn’t interested in hearing me out.

He was dismissive and l couldn’t accept this because whenever he needed us to talk, l would hear him out. I begged, l cried but he didn’t want to hear me out. I kept begging, l kept talking, l kept pushing and he chose to shut down.

I exposed my vulnerability to this person because I thought he was my place of safety and security. He made me believe that l was safe with him and that he loved me. I remember so vividly, the moment which probably triggered my anxiousness; he was lying on his couch and had covered himself with a bed cover to avoid seeing and talking to me. The feelings of rejection, pain, disappointment, hurt, anger poured out to the surface in huge droves and l blacked out. All l remember was me dragging the bed cover throwing it at him. As I turned to leave, turned to look at him and noticed an ironing board which had different things on top of it. Without a second thought, l grabbed a glass mug and threw it across the room.

I know l must have startled and scared him, l was scared too.

I was in pain and wanted to relieve myself from it but didn’t know how to handle or deal with it.

I grabbed my car keys and wallet which on the kitchen counter and banged the door as l left. I drove home very fast. To be frank, as I drove home, it felt good because the pain seemed to have subsided.

I got to my place and the minute I stepped in;

l began to shake, my temperature skyrocketed, l couldn’t breathe, my head was spinning, l felt dizzy, and my heart felt like it was being ripped into pieces.

I remember calling my mum and Pastor telling them what l had done. I was so ashamed of myself. I never thought l was the type of person to do such a thing, especially to a person l loved the most.

I remember the same night texting him asking why he never protected me and why he just lied there on his couch watching me break down and fall apart.

I tried to sleep but l couldn’t, my blood pressure was at an all-time high, the veins in my hands felt like the blood in them was boiling. l struggled to sleep and decided to retrace my steps back to what had made me reach this point.

I realised that l had kept so much in me.

Few days prior to the incident l had resigned from a job; l had issues l hadn’t resolved. I had hurt that l hadn’t dealt with. I had chosen to keep quiet to avoid conflict at work. I had questions for my boyfriend but had bottled them because l wanted to keep the peace with him.

When l was hurting, all l did was pray instead of confronting and dealing with my pain. I used prayer as a way to dust the feelings of disappointment and failure under the carpet. The feelings did not disappear but they were neatly tucked in the deep crevices of my heart waiting for just one moment to explode.

The next morning, l looked for a counsellor/therapist. I needed someone to talk to, someone to help me deal with what l had done. Since the experience, I have been seeing a counsellor and it is the best thing l have ever done. My choice to share this part of me was because I now know how frightening it is to be open and honest about how they feel.

The fear to open up to others stems from being seen as monsters.

I remember my boyfriend calling me a monster and someone else’s narrative to describe me as angry and bitter. Oh, man did l felt like a failure!

I was now the person l knew l didn’t want to be.


If l had been honest about my feelings from the start and not tried to brush them aside, l would be sharing a different experience today.

As Christians, we have been socialised to pray, pray, pray and keep it cute. We believe that when we pray we become exempt from walking through the process of pain, disappointment and healing.

We’re not.

The next instalment of Gracefully Broken is a continuation of Samkeliso’s experience with Anxiety. Do you have a story to share? You can submit it here.

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