I smiled not because I was happy, I smiled because it was expected ~Etta D. Richards
This is the first of my two-part series of speaking about my own partnership with mental health. I don’t call it a battle because battles are won or lost. With partnerships, you come to a mutual agreement.
Growing up in a society where mental health is a HUGE taboo wasn’t easy. You’re either possed by the devil or your drugs (Weed, Cocaine) was laced. I remember seeing my uncle wrestle with his demons and everyone calling him crazy, I remember how lucid he was whenever he came back from the “crazy hill” that’s what they called the rehabilitation centre back home. We kids never knew what that place really was, we only know if you went “crazy” you went there to get better. Years later when my uncle resisted going to the “crazy hill” I tried to talk him down, tried to convince him it was the best place for him because it made him better. He looked at me with wild eyes and he said that place didn’t make him better, then he explained to me what really went on there. The solitude, the blue pills that made you wet yourself even when you didn’t want to, the white pills that made your mind so quiet you forget your own name. The place where the reward for good behaviour was an extra roll on your dinner plate and the reward for non-compliance was a padded cell with a gift of a jacket with buckles and belts.