My name is Briana Stanley, I am a college student who has dealt with depression for a long time. Growing up, I never had a name for it, but I knew I was off. Within my community, things like depression and anxiety don’t exist. Studies show otherwise, but culturally, minorities choose to believe they can not have these types of issues. According to NIH, "Major depression and factors associated with depression were more frequent among members of minority groups than among whites" (2010). African Americans don’t believe in this fact so much to the point that seeking medical attention for psychiatric assistance is looked down upon. It’s seen as you can’t help yourself. Living through this type of burden, along with being sexually assaulted, and other natural stressors caused me to have a pretty severe mental breakdown. These obstacles drove me to the point that I attempted to commit suicide.
I tried to crash my car. I was battling all my demons one morning on my way to a meeting; which seems so mundane, but when things like this go untreated, it’s prevalent. What stopped me from taking the plunge was the fact that I had a friend in my passenger. I heard him call my name, and in a moment, I realized it was selfish to hurt him in the mix. Once I came back to my senses, we were able to park, and I cried for what felt like forever. This was when I started experiencing anxiety. This incident, along with a strongly encouraging push from my boss at the time, made me go to therapy. To be frank, I hated those first few sessions, but I kept going because I knew I had to be better for the people around me. And worst-case scenario they can always lock me away and feed me pills. My first therapist was Dr. Marchant, a fantastic psychiatrist who completely changed my views on counseling. He recognized that I wrote a lot of poetry about my mental health. At one time, this was the only way we communicated in our sessions. Dr. Marchant motivated me to write more because it was doing wonders for my mental stability. Eventually, the sessions became more relaxed, and it became my favorite thing. My doctor would encourage me to make my poetry more accessible to everyone. However, I was scared because these words were a part of my life that I’ve tried to hide for many years.
Nevertheless, an opportunity presented itself, and I was healing so I felt more inclined to share than before. Campus movie fest is a competition that I try and enter every year to better my skills as a filmmaker. Film is not my major; however, I love the process of making films, so regardless of winning, I always enter this competition. I made my decision to write about my current battle, and it was one of the most laborious processes I’ve ever encountered. Knowing that these pieces would be everywhere for people to see was very off-putting for me, but I knew that this story was more significant than myself. So I persevered through it and made Easy (A)nxiety. Easy (A)nxiety is a small collection of the poetry pieces I’ve written about my personal story of dealing with depression and anxiety. This short film has won me awards and also allowed people to start their own journey to self acceptance. Through this, I’m able to normalize depression and anxiety and also encourage others to seek professional help. I am so thankful for organizations like ADAA, which allows individuals to seek advice for mental and emotional illness. ADAA is giving people the platform to seek assistance, and that should be celebrated because not many people know that these things are available to them. Bringing awareness to such an important issue is what helped me find myself, and it can help many more.