in our community it’s kinda taboo to talk about mental health, it’s taboo to talk about depression, we don’t talk about anxiety or things like that. i remember the first time i ever talked about depression, i was in high school and i was brought to the church so that i could confess my sins and that was supposed to cure me of my depression. but instead, it made me feel worse. i remember crying after the confession because i felt that god was punishing me. i felt like i did something wrong or that it was my fault that i was feeling this way.
a few weeks ago, with the advice of my aunt, she told me that i should see somebody, talk to a theorist, talk to a psychiatrist. talk to them about why i randomly feel so terrible, why i would self-harm and why i would feel like there is a gray cloud over me all the time. again, i thought it was my fault. so one night, it got really bad and i self-harmed, i was planning on killing myself. it got that bad that i was like “what is the point of living?” i didn’t see a future, i didn’t see any good things and i just thought “let me just end it now.” luckily my cousin and my best friend came over before i could do anything and so now i have been taking medication, i’ve been talking to a therapist, i’ve been fighting just to live my life. i shared my story on facebook recently because i want to not be ashamed. i want others to not be ashamed. i want us all to know that we are not alone.
camden, new jersey
interviewed and photographed by louie a. ortiz-fonseca
if you’re struggling tonight, remember that the Lifeline is here for you, 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). reach out if you need someone to talk to.