A Black or Biracial Woman's Mental Health Nightmare

A Black or Biracial Woman's Mental Health Nightmare

by Gina Brown

--Trigger Warning - Suicide Discussion --

I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder at the age of 23. I went on to work for many years, marry, divorce, and have three children. In my 30s, I added anxiety and schizoaffective disorder to my mental health repertoire. 

I’ve had some hospitalizations over the years, but not long ones and never involuntary. In February 2023, I was fired from my job while hospitalized; I was receiving inpatient treatment for my mental health and a miscarriage. After that I fell into a spiral of despair and depression. I worried about how I would provide for my daughters, and I missed my son terribly, as he had decided to join the army. 

This hospitalization kicked off a severe bout of insomnia that would plague me for the next several months. The insomnia, and another particularly horrific hospitalization that only made the insomnia worse, led to my attempting suicide. 

Gradually, I regained my strength and participated in outpatient treatment. I noticed that none of the white patients in my group had been fired while hospitalized. 

I was well on my way to recovery after getting on disability and figuring out my finances, but there were still challenging moments. On September 11, 2023, I was not feeling well. I had been teaching in NYC during the 9-11 attack, and I was feeling some PTSD, like I was moving in slow motion all day.  

On a different occasion I took my 12-year-old daughter's cell phone as punishment for her not checking in with me about her whereabouts and 9-1-1 was called. The next thing I know is I'm being handcuffed and taken into custody by police outside of my daughter's school. I was involuntarily hospitalized for the first time and spent almost a month in the hospital. A case with Children's Services was also opened as a result of the incident. 

For the past 6 months, I have been picking up the pieces of my life. Some things that have helped me were joining the 12-step programs, AA and MA; and going through group counseling, which was helpful and taught me skills to cope with my depression, anxiety, bipolar and substance issues. I have also tried to meditate and pray to a higher power, practice gratitude, and do some journaling.

I recently came across the ADAA website and the information ADAA has about Biracial people and our likelihood of mental health issues has been enlightening. I am grateful to have found a forum to vent about my experiences as a Biracial individual with mental health challenges because they can attest to the unfair treatment our minority faces in society and with the mental healthcare system. 

Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts
Block reference