depression-mental health-suicide
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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.

That stuck with me. If your mind works against you, you grin and bear it. I smiled not because I was happy, I smiled because it was expected. At the age of twenty, the quietness became more frequent, my love for solitude grew into a need. Looking back, my awareness of confusion, the mental fog, the need for a coping mechanism and my fascination with the freedom of death, came way before I was twenty. I was never good with relationships, with myself or anyone else. It took too much effort to look in the mirror each day and say “I love you” to the person staring back and even more energy to say it to someone else. Trust me it takes years of practice to learn self-love, even more, to learn to love another.

You’re Not Crazy, Depression Is Real

It’s amazing how mental health only becomes popular when a celebrity claims it or doctors and scientist feels it worthy of studying or worthy of gracing the pages of some medical journal. Depression is not prejudiced of age, race, creed or gender. It creeps in, settles quietly while sending you on an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes you survive that ride, sometimes you don’t. Losing the battle doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means the freedom of death was more appealing than the suffering of living and not succeeding doesn’t mean failure, that are no failures in suicide, it means you have a greater purpose, it means you get to fight another day!

This as my contribution to Debbie’s Forgiving Friday series, where she writes about and invite others to share their thoughts on Forgiveness, Self-Love and Personal Growth. Debbie, thank you and I am so grateful the opportunity to contribute to your blog.

~Happy Friday

©Etta D. Richards

13 thoughts on “Phenomenal Friday-You’re Not Crazy, Depression Is Real!

  1. Definitely a blog post I relate. I’ve been in and out of the mental health system for years. The mental health system is broken and designed for failure. One is reduced to being an Id number, Insurance, diagnosis and prescription. In the mental health
    and clinics you lose your humanity.

    Thank you for speaking the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. These days I’m still trying to find myself and it’s more of a response to a lot of what going on in Social Media because anytime someone takes their life everyone says the same……They had so much to live for! Wow, how could he/she be depressed they were always SO happy! Blah, Blah, Blah! So many people just don’t understand!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. Absolutely correct. People’s reactions are based on their mindset and social indoctrination. Sadly depression is still seen as a character flaw or fault. Not as the disease it truly is.
        Ignorance breeds stigma, shame and guilt.
        Depression is a rollercoaster ride inside a House of Horrors. Every day like thousands of people worldwide I’m at its mercy. Certain things or events are triggers for me. When I think that I have my depression under control it asserts its authority with a kick to my solar plexus.
        Often it takes everything in my arsenal to get through the days, hours and minutes.
        My horrible terrible experience being 2 weeks in the mental ward of Kings County hospital reminds me why I don’t want to return to the matrix maze of the broken mental health system. Painting is my therapy as are photography and writing.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 🌹🌹Well I lived 44yrs with it, without help because where I’m from mental health disease is a character flaw and there’s little or not help for persons suffering. Even after moving I was so used to suffering alone I never sought help until a friend of mine asked if I’ve ever been treated for depression, my first response was……..I’m not depressed! I’m too happy to be depressed! I’ve been conditioned to believe that depression was a choice and was something you could snap out of with a smile!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True. So much misinformation. Over time I’ve been on a variety of antidepressants none of which worked. I’m open to treatments that don’t involve medication. The last pills I took caused me an extreme anxiety and panic attacks for several days. I nearly lost my job. The side affects from the medicines almost killed me. I decided to suffer with the depression. At least I can still work. Those drug induced hallucinations were horrible. Either I was a zombie or totally freaking out.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Etta D., I am so privileged that you shared this post on depression for #ForgivingFridays. It is so open and honest, and a beautiful attest to your acceptance of what is present. I also love that you write about this in the topic of “happy-ness”, it is a great exploration of what is true happiness really? And there’s such freedom in that inquiry. I love you Etta. Happy 🙂 to share this for #ForgivingFridays!! Love, Debbie ps – HOW COOL that you include a quote from yourself at the beginning. Yes.

    Liked by 2 people

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