Yahshanna's Open Letter: Part II

Last week Shannie opened up about a constant battle she endures to maintain her mental health in an Open Letter.  This week she completes the piece with Part II... For anyone who knows me, they know that I am an avid fan of music and I can almost always find a song that channels my emotions or mind frame that I am in. The song “Smile” by Tamia has parts that described my predicament exactly…

“And so I put on my makeup/ put a smile on my face/ and if anyone asks me, everything is ok/ I’m laughin cause no one knows the joke is on me/ but I’m dying inside with my pride and a smile on my face.”

And so I go around and just pretend love is not for me/ I play the circus clown around my friends/make’em laugh and they don’t see/ cuz you never let them see you sweat/ don’t want them to think the pain runs deep/ Lord knows it’s killing me

With conditions like depression it is so easy to put on a front that everything is ok. Sadly that is also why individuals fall through the cracks when it comes to identifying who needs more help.

I was never to the point that I wanted to take my own life, but when things get bad I know how easy it is for the thought to dance in your head. I cannot speak for others, but I knew that was not an option for me. I was able to identify what was going on with me and made a conscious decision to change. I just happened to be as strong as everyone around me thought I was to pull out of it.

Being able to put space between myself and the drama from home was one of the key components to help me.

Every day is a battle and it would be foolish of me to think that this is not an ongoing one. There are times that I find myself in that dark place in the back of my mind but having a wonderful niece and nephews help me stay in the light. Writing and reading help me with an escape from my every day without backtracking.

My experience with my counselor in undergrad made me realize that there was a missing link in health care.

There are few professionals that look like me and I felt a disconnection as I attempted to engage with my counselor.

My experience opened my eyes to know that our culture does not celebrate mental health and I was inspired  to make a difference.

A connection can be made knowing that you aren’t alone and dispelling the myth that those who seek out help are not crazy.

In addition to this we  must  change the mindset that what happens in our house stays in our house.

Seeking help will always be an option and should be taken seriously. Having suffered from depression, I am a resource of how to cope with it and I need to pass that knowledge along. I have come a long way from who I was in undergrad but having something to occupy my mind other than negative thought was very helpful.

- Yahshanna Scott

Twitter: Mizzscott2306


Ironically, Shannie and I were in college at the same time and it wasn't until a couple years after our initial bouts with a mental illness did we begin to talk about it, indirectly.  We each worked in similar fields but we did not expose our own struggles because we did not want others to think something was "wrong with me".   I am happy that we both got pass that barrier and are able to share our stories with you, with hopes of helping others. 

Yahshanna's Open Letter: Part I

The following post was submitted by a friend, Yahshanna “Shannie” Scott. I have known her for almost 10 years now and she experience working with mental illness in various settings but also has a personal story to share as well.   Check out the first of her two part Open Letter. Hello All,

I have struggled with writing this for some time. When Rwenshaun released his blog and discussed with everyone the internal battle that he had been facing, I could do nothing but be proud of him. His expression of his struggle was a double edge sword for me though. Although I was proud I was also forced to come to terms with my own demons that I have been able to hide so well for so long. He gave me the courage and platform to share. I will forever be grateful for this

College was not an easy phase of my life. As an 18 year old, I was juggling attempting to live my life but I was burdened by the life that I left behind. I had always been able to take care of not only myself but my family as well. I don’t know any other way. Unfortunately, I shouldn’t have had to.

By the time my spring semester came around I was working full time, a full time student and still getting bad news from home. It was overwhelming. By sophomore year started I felt that I was losing control of so much in my life. My grades were slipping, social relationships were fizzling and I was becoming a recluse. There were nights that I would find myself crying in conversations with God and feeling like I didn’t matter. All of this was done in the dark. While on the yard I seemed to have it all together. I was social and found myself in a maternal/big sister role to so many of the freshmen on campus without trying. I love my babies. I was dealing with an internal battle because at the drop of a hat I was able to take care of them and be their rock but I felt like I was in a bottomless abyss when it came to what I was dealing with.

After so many months of feeling hopeless and helpless I took it upon myself to use the resources available to me and went to see a counselor in the mental health department of student health.

As I sat across from this blonde hair woman who couldn’t have been but 5 or 6 years older than me to try to figure out what was going on with me. Our session lasted about 55 minutes and by the end I almost became angry. I didn’t feel as though she really heard what I was saying or understood where I was coming from. I felt more lost than when I arrived. I was told that I should make an appointment with a psychiatrist became I may be dealing with a form of depression.

‘How dare she?’

I’m not depressed I said over and over. I’m just a bit off balance but I am too strong to be depressed.

That last statement kept me from truly understanding depression and how it affected me.

I met with the psychiatrist and without more than one meeting his response was he wanted me to be placed on antidepressants. I was into psychology then and knew that the side effects of some of the anti-depressants could be worse that the actual symptoms. I was at a cross road. I took the prescription but I never filled it. I felt if my problem was genuinely my mood it could be altered with the right mind frame and I didn’t need medication.

- Yahshanna Scott

Twitter: Mizzscott2306


Similar to Shannie’s story, many people have felt the same way but fail to take the step to utilize their resources to become health like she has in the past.   Feel free to comment with your questions and/or comments.