Depression is NOT about what you see. It’s about how I’m feeling! ~Etta D. Richards
This is the second 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.
I know what a rubber band feels like just before it snaps under the pressure of having its fibres stretched to the limit. It’s the point where you think to yourself….”I just can’t take this anymore!” At 16 I felt that snap. I was an emotional wreckless teenager who was falling in love for the first time, under tremendous pressure to perform at school and facing even more pressure to comply with the house rules at home. But I had a home, family that loved me, a guy who said he loved me. So why then was my mind in such despair, where was the HAPPINESS? I had the basics for living and so much to live for, at least so I was told. “Poor people don’t get depressed, suicide is for the wealthy.” Said the man in black Cassock and thin white collar. “Pray about you, it’s puberty, you’ll get over it,” he continued. “You can’t be depressed because you have a well-paid job, life is good to you,” said the medical professional who refused to diagnose my depression because he said it was all in my head and people would think I’m crazy.
My perfect day is not having to perform for anyone, not having to smile and pretend that the world was one big bed of roses.
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.
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