Women vs. Mental Health
Lately, I have been coming across articles and headlines about women suffering from a mental illness, and the result of that has been them acting out or doing something they would not normally do if they were sane. As we know mental illness or a mental disorder is a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior. I believe that mental illness in women is something that is overlooked because as women we tend to cover our flaws with make-up, extensions, and nice clothes just to give off this look of being “perfect”.
Let me share something with you that happened recently. A young lady accidentally walked into my home because my brother left my front door unlocked. It startled us all, and after getting her to leave I called 911. The police arrived quickly and followed her to the next house she went to. An ambulance arrived, and we thought that she was trying to go the medical route to escape. Shortly after that, an officer came to me and told me that the young lady had been reported missing and that she was diagnosed with “schizophrenia”. I was shocked because just looking at her you could not tell she was mentally ill. But you could see in her eyes that something was not right. I was so happy to help her because had it been someone else, who knows how it would have turned out. I felt a bit like a hero.
Whenever I hear stories about women fighting a mental battle, I empathize for her because I know how hard it can be to fight those silent battles no one knows about. I know because I was diagnosed with paranoia schizophrenia. First, I thought “No this cannot be real.” I tried to think back to everything I went through that eventually led up to that point. I needed help, so my first step was staying on the infamous 13th floor at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. From there I was transferred to a mental facility for a week. I was taking at least six different medications three times a day. The meds kept me groggy and tired. I was surrounded by different people that were fighting more battles with mental health than I personally had. This does not make me crazy; it just shows that someone cared enough about my well-being and they wanted me to get the help that I needed. I did not resist getting help because I figured if something was off with me, I needed to know. I have daughters that I have to take care of, and I could not do that being mentally unstable.
Looking at me from the outside, you would never know that I suffered from this illness because I do not talk about it. I am a normal human being who happens to have suffered childhood trauma, and adult trauma, that left some permanent damage. I feel so deeply in my heart that being open and vulnerable with people in this day in age is like trying to move a brick wall. Everybody is all about partying, looking fly, and having a good time. Which is cool. But my mind wonders if many people do these things to cover up what they are suffering with mentally. I believe that if more women would start vocalizing their flaws, whether they are in the main-stream or not, it would help a lot of women start to tell their story and eventually start the healing they need.
I have recently discovered that writing is healing for me. Telling my story is healing because it gives me a chance to speak my truth. I want to help others. I want them to hear my story and experiences and get inspired. In todays’ society, I must admit it is hard to share my story because I care about what others would say and I wonder would they accept my truth. But then I get motivation from other CEO's and I say forget it. I’m going to use my voice to speak my truth - and be proud of doing so.
If you know a sister or friend that is fighting a battle mentally, do not judge her but have empathy for her because it is a hard pill to deal with. Support that sister or friend and make sure that she feels loved because it is always needed. This has been an ongoing generational curse from great-grandmothers to grandmothers to mothers to daughters, and one day it will be broken. I accept my condition, yet my condition will not defeat me! Women v. mental illness needs to be addressed more in our communities. You cannot cure what is not confronted!