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Gospel artist Latice Crawford opens up about coping with social anxiety disorder

Photo courtesy of Latice CrawfordArticle By Yvette Sumpter // EEW Magazine News

Millions of Christians struggle with mental illnesses and emotional disorders, but are too ashamed to talk about it.

But BET Sunday Best Season 2 alumna, Latice Crawford, is opening up about how she handles her own social anxiety disorder while being a witness for Christ.

“As a woman of faith, it was difficult to talk about suffering from this disorder because I thought the non-believer would think my God wasn’t real because he couldn’t or wouldn't heal me and that other Christians would tell me to pray about it because it’s the devil,” writes Crawford in a blog post for ESSENCE.

According to WEB MD, social anxiety disorder, also known as phobia, causes the sufferer to experience “an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.” They struggle with intense nervousness, self-consciousness and fear of “being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others”—which can, in some cases, lead to panic attacks.

“Even now, as a mom, it’s scary when I have a panic attack as it causes me not to think clearly. During those moments, it’s easy for me to slip into a space where I have to shut myself off from my son because I'm too overwhelmed,” explains the wife of Jeff Spain and mother of the couple's son Joshua.

Though managing these feelings can be tough at times, the popular vocalist, who is currently promoting her EP, Diary of a Church Girl which debuted at No. 15 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart, says she is no stranger to this disorder.

“As a child, I saw many of my family members go through this and because of these same fears they didn't talk about it,” writes Crawford. 

That’s where she differs from her family. The “Choose Me” singer refuses to keep quiet and says, “I’ve learned that although it’s scary, it’s necessary to talk about it because one of the key elements to balancing anxiety disorder is have an outlet, to know your trigger points, to engage in things and live in the moment. I’m much more comfortable talking about it now. Sunday Best gave me that confidence.”

Crawford first discovered her disorder when she was a young girl. It was so severe that, according to her, she had to drop out of school and be home-schooled due to her fear of socializing with other students. And as an adult, unfortunately, things haven’t gotten much easier.

“This disorder is sometimes crippling and makes everything more challenging as a mom. There's constant anxiety and fear that somehow you will be the cause of something terrible happening to your child,” she shares. “I am constantly snapping myself back to reality, so that I can do my best to raise my child and allow him to experience a fulfilling life.”

While Crawford once thought her phobia was a poor reflection upon God’s power, her perspective has since shifted.

These days, she tells others that, “as a Christian it doesn't make you spotless, but instead it makes you the perfect vessel for God to fill. Identifying it and talking about it gives God the opportunity to show the non-believer or the person who thinks they have to be perfect before they can come to Him that God will work with your imperfections and use it to bless other people.”

RELATED: Richard Smallwood opens up about past struggle with clinical depression

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