As a young African American female, mental illness is something that we are taught not to speak about. We are often taught that it doesn’t exist.
“There is no problem to big for God” is what our parents tell us when sadness consumes us. While those words may be comforting for a moment, the sad feelings always seem to make their way back in. Who can we run to when we have been conditioned to think those things are not real. They are simply just the devil playing tricks with our minds. While that may be halfway true, depression and anxiety do exist and they are tearing down our community like a silent killer in the night.
I have struggled with both mental illnesses for the past 2-3 years. I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD and sometimes I wonder if I’ll be “normal” again. There are nights when I lay in bed praying that I won’t wake up in the morning just so that the pain will end.
No, I do not look like my diagnoses and looking from the outside in, you would never know that I am constantly fighting a battle, a battle to survive, a battle to keep pushing. I have everything a 24 year old could want and more. I own my own home, have a college degree, and work as a lead counselor. Sounds like a pretty great life right? Not entirely. What many people don’t realize is, those are only material things that will never help relive the constant pain I feel on a day to day basis. I am not sure what the cure to these illnesses are or if there even is one. Some say a combination of therapy and antidepressants will help, but who wants to depend on those things for the rest of their lives?
Although I do not know when or if this battle will ever end, I’ll never stop fighting. Although the black community struggles with acknowledging these disorders, they have always taught us to never to give up and to ALWAYSfight.
So as long as there is breath in my body the fight will continue….
CARMEN, 24, INDIANAPOLIS IN
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