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
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.