This is the worst thing you can say to someone with any kind of disorder, especially the ones that people call "silent illnesses". Depression and anxiety are just as real as bronchitis and cancer. As black women, our culture does not allow us to readily use these terms as an explanation for our hardships. We are labeled instead with being "emotional" or "angry" at the world. Even black men are targeted with the stigma that they cannot be emotional at all. We are all victims of our hurt being watered down because it makes others uncomfortable.

Take me, for example: My personality is very extroverted. I find joy in being around people. What most people don't know is that I was diagnosed with depression and PTSD. I have had panic attacks out of the blue as a side effect of the PTSD. Most people couldn't tell because of how "happy" I am all of the time. But depression is not the same for everyone, and having PTSD does not necessarily mean that had to have been a veteran who went through a war. The human brain is fragile, and anything that tips those hormone scales could have a negative effect on someone for life. The purpose of this entry is to open the door for those with mental illnesses. There is such a taboo attached to those who admit their mental deficiencies, that no one wants to talk about it at all. When you find out that your friend has a mental illness, there are some things that are hard for them to talk about. You have to learn a new language to make sure that you keep your friend happy and as mentally sound as possible. As stated above, most people do not talk about what they need in order to remain balanced. They will act "normal" and suffer silently alone. 

Since I only know about my own experiences, maybe this will help someone who is like me. I beat myself up a lot for making mistakes. Whether they are small or large, the lack of perfection kills me inside. I put so much of my happiness into making others happy that when I disappoint them, I feel like a failure. I may give someone a tidbit of what I am feeling, but most of the time the person I'm talking to will brush it off as me being human and tells me to get over it. "Getting over it" is so hard when you have a mental illness. Depression is not logical. Anxiety is not logical. The feelings we feel cannot be explained away with a few words. Once you try to understand the mind of a depressed person, you will be greatly appreciated. 

So, please, do me a favor. If you know a friend who is suffering from any mental illness show them some love today. They won't ask for it, but they need it. I know I do.

Published by Morgan J.