May 18th 2020
So this is something that I’ve shared with close friends and my finsta lol. It’s something that has truly troubled me and what I would say “hindered” my growth. Two years ago, about three weeks before my 22nd birthday, I suffered from a heart attack. The worstttttt day of my life. It was unexpected and so scary that I have never lived the same.
Around this time I was a full-time student, interning, running a tutoring business, and attending social events/ galas almost every night. I was used to having mini panic attacks because of my anxiety, but I never thought I was having silent heart attacks. Thankfully, at the time I was tutoring the son of two doctors (two snaps for our Black medical professionals) and after a session one day I talked to one of them about the things I was experiencing. Almost daily I had chest pains, shortness of breath, and I was almost always light-headed. After talking to the Doc about what I was experiencing, she scared me and got super serious about me going to the ER when having another episode.
The week before having the conversation I remember going to a basketball game with now, ex friends and I got so worked up that I had to hurry and get back to my car. I could not breathe to save my life and I started crying because I really couldn’t understand what was happening and it was very overwhelming. I had to miss out on the game and go home because of not feeling well and honestly I just thought it was my anxiety getting the best of me. Having to be around an enormous group of people is never exciting for me.
I was on a mission and I was too focused on making a name and establishing myself in New Orleans. And everything was literally perfect. All was extremely well. I was “doing the damn thang” and I was proud. I’ve always wanted to return home, to my family’s roots, and leave my mark. My parents were proud, my friends were proud, as was I. I couldn’t imagine anything better, truly.
Well, that was before having a heart attack at 8p on a school night. I was driving home after tutoring one of my students and what I thought was another panic attack turned out to be something worse. After that conversation with Doc, I didn’t want to take another chance and honestly after the conversation I was VERRRRRRY scared. So, I drove myself to the ER, told them what I was experiencing, and they saw me in about 5 minutes….. BOOM! After an EKG and a few other tests, results came back stating that I was having a heart attack. The test/chart showed that I suffered from left and right heart infarctions. The doctors asked if I was in some accident because they really couldn’t understand what they were reading. Here is this 21-year-old, visibly healthy patient coming in having a heart attack. Well, before reading past conditions they were lost in the sauce. I had been having heart complications since I was about 14 years old and I was walking around with heart monitors, at school and everywhere else. I wasn’t new to any of this, I just never had a heart attack.
For the next three weeks I would go to see a team of doctors every other day. All of it was frightening, and I really wanted my mom there with me. I was so used to her always being present when visiting my doctors in Houston :(. I felt so alone and my life just stopped. I was on “bed rest” for a few weeks and I was walking around with more monitors.
I no longer knew how to live life without the fear of suffering from another heart attack. I stopped going out for fun and business; I stopped tutoring, started bailing on friends, the next semester I transitioned to taking more online classes and my anxiety was at an all-time HIGH. I don’t think anyone understood how much that affected me. I was scared to live, too scared to “do too much”.
No one around me was as present or there for me as much as I would’ve liked for them to. I lost a group of my then closest “friends” and that was just another crack at my heart. They devastated me. I was being “dramatic” “doing too much” and “over-exaggerating” because I could no longer go out and when I tried to hang with them I was wearing my heart monitor. I would’ve never expected that my friends would’ve paid me such dust and just lack compassion.
My best friend was there a bit, but I also expected more from her. I didn’t know what more to say for people to see that in that moment in time I needed them. I lost a sense of myself and my friends were all that I had that brought me some sense. Thankfully, I had my amazing aunt and younger cousin (Hey Kayla!) to keep me in better spirits and be there for me, and my close friends back in Houston calling me daily to check up on me.
Again, I’ve touched on this throughout time, but I don’t think people understood the gravity of this incident. I’ve held myself back because of fear. I’ve missed out on opportunities that could have totally changed my life and these are things that I can’t get back. I fell into a deep depression and I didn’t leave my house for anything except doctor appointments. I was always in my room sitting in absolute darkness just eating, sleeping and crying. And not until recently I began working towards getting back to a healthy place in life. Imagine spending almost two years of your life in complete sadness and darkness and not telling anyone how you really felt on the inside. For a while I felt dead inside. My sense of Tarrion was dead.
Now, I’m in a healthier state and mindset. I’ve made better choices to live a better life (without doing the most). I’ve learned how to control my anxiety (without meds) and I now definitely stress wayyyy less. I run and write every day. This “loss” also blessed me with a group of amazing friends. Weirdly, after being dumped by not so exceptional friends. I’ve gotten back into things that brought me joy, and I’m not as nervous/ scared as I used to be. I now try to get the most of my life, not knowing how it feels to die, but I know what it feels like to lose and I never want to feel that sense of loss and defeat ever again.