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by Adina Young

Adina Young_0.jpgWhy can’t you just be happy?

You know, you have it better than most people? You should be appreciative.

These are things I have heard since I was officially diagnosed with depression in 2000. It’s insane to think that in 2018, I still hear this from friends and family.

My father and mother were never diagnosed with bi-polar disorder or depression, respectively, neither were my grandmothers on both sides, even though all parties involved knew they had some form of mental illness. In the black community, mental illness is such a stigma.

My mother, wanting to break the cycle, took my sisters and I (triplets) to see a psychologist who soon after diagnosed two of us with depression. I remember being so grateful for my mother, especially after the medication set in! It was an amazing feeling knowing that I was not crazy, but rather, had a chemical imbalance that could be treated through medication and therapy. Even though I was happier, I was ashamed. I never shared this with any friends or family. Only my immediate family knew.

Fast forward to 2016, I was in a REALLY bad mental and physical place. I was taking opioids, drinking too much, had a job where my boss was an alcoholic and had been dumped in the worst way possible – via text. And, on top of that, before this relationship, I had been in an abusive relationship in 2012 and never got treatment.  I was a mess. As a result, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital in Washington, DC for a little over a week. I always tell people that it was the experience I needed. I discovered that not only had I had depression but severe anxiety and that’s why I was self medicating.

Now, I am proud to say I have depression and anxiety and proud to say I have a therapist and take 3 different pills. In fact, I have met a group of friends at work and outside of work that have had similar battles with mental illness and we often share our highs and lows of the day. We joke and say things like, “I’m only NORMAL because I’m on my meds.” We know mental illness is not funny, but it’s nice to be around people who can normalize it with me.

So, while at first, people saying: “Why can’t you just be happy?” And, “you know, you have it better than most people? You should be appreciative,” used to really get to me. Now, I tell them, “My heart loves and appreciates my life. I just have to remind my brain of that!”

Disorder

Comments

Thank you for sharing this! I can relate to you on so many levels due to me being part of the black community. My family will not admit that we have a mental illness running in the family but I choose to be the one to stop the cycle, for my future kids sake. This gave me courage and calmness knowing there are people like me out there trying to figure it out too.

Thank you again for sharing and I hope you continue on this beautiful journey of live with happiness and a ton of great support ❤

That was a great personal story of how the African America community is. As I am a African American woman, you don't say anything about having mental issues or having odd thoughts we cannot control even it we tried!!

Great story. Thank you for sharing. I want everyone in the entire world to read this.

Hey thanks for sharing I really appreciate you sharing your personal struggles I have and am going through similar trespasses. But I am determined to get back on my meds now. I stopped taking my meds because I thought it wasn’t normal but I now realize I have a chemical imbalance and it’s okay to take the treatment and not be ashamed. I started drinking and doing drugs to relax and ease the symptoms but I see that I’m only fooling myself and it’s really not helping my situation at all. I’m reading your article now and have a doctors appointment in the morning I’m so anxious scared but determined to keep fighting and imbrace my condition and take control of myself and make progress with medical care from professionals and not listen to people that don’t have a clue about my condition really. Thanks so much

I’m so proud of you!!! It’s hard to recognize substance abuse and take a stand against it! Be patient with the medicine. It won’t cure you overnight but it WILL get better in due time. I didn’t want to believe meds were necessary but they really help. Stay strong!!

This helped me when I was really going through it today. I had tears after reading that last line...so true and so hopeful! I truly hope you’re doing well, and thank you so much for sharing your journey and your success ❤️

Zack - this is exactly why I shared my story. So I can remind others they aren’t alone! I’m doing great these days and it’s thanks to my meds and a great support system!!! I hope your days get better and better!!

Zack - this is exactly why I shared my story. So I can remind others they aren’t alone! I’m doing great these days and it’s thanks to my meds and a great support system!!! I hope your days get better and better!!

Good for you! I love your last line of the story. Your heart knows it- but your brain plays tricks on you. I have learned that fighting my anxiety and depression requires a plan of action and it’s an everyday fight! Keep your head up- you are an inspiration to others who need it

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