you can too! My story dealing with depression by veronica revels
From where I come from, having depression is considered a sign of weakness. Our Hispanic society is focused on success and a mental illness can certainly get in the way of achieving what life expects from us, depression has a stigma. When we moved here, many of us, especially if there was a language barrier, went through the difficulty of making friends, expressing the way we felt, leaving our countries and families, we learned to live in a whole different environment, navigate a new system and adjust.
Hispanic women embody strength no matter what circumstances we face. And, because of our religious beliefs, we surrender our pain to our faith and try to make the best of the situation we are in. Thing is, we forget we are human, we forget the importance of self-care until our boat fills up with water and we sink down deep to rock bottom. We control everything, we can’t let go and just let things be. It’s really hard to admit we need help. It almost feels like we are betraying ourselves and going against our own pride, once we realize we are not superheroes, we are not God and that we need help.
I knew I needed help for a long time, but I made myself strong, especially during winter and the SAD syndrome I endured every year, I carried my cross. But it took, losing my beloved father in law and for my 3-year-old to suffer a traumatic accident, to finally express the need for help. Not ask… yell, scream and demand, help. I called, desperately, dozens of clinics and therapists. I had lost control and was drowning in a deep sea of pain, despair and unmanageable emotions. Responses looked like 4 weeks to 2 months wait. My advice is don’t wait! Don’t wait for life to force you to see something you won’t. I believe God makes us wonder “what for” rather than “why me?”
A week after coming home from the hospital, Karen Tessandore with “Counseling for Her” and TMS Centers of Alaska, reached out to me and took me in. Together, we’ve been able to bring my boat afloat. I have committed myself to work and revise every single thing that brought me where I am today, what has made me and what has broken me. Eight months in, I have an incredible therapist and a wonderful psychiatrist. Who have done nothing but validate my emotions and guide me through the path of healing. It takes a lot of work, self-introspection and push, and that is something that runs through our Hispanic veins. We have the strength; we have the courage and the willingness to move forward.
Let me ask you this, are you going to wait for a tragic event in order to take care of yourself? Because we are only given one life to live, the most extraordinary experience, a mix of pain and happiness all on the same ride. Wouldn’t you want to love life fully and give it all you’ve got? Take yourself seriously, you are worth it, your emotions are valid, your problems are important. Reach out! Talk to a friend, make a phone call, get moving, don’t sit in self-pity, ask for help, and if you’re too proud, learn how to do it. Because there’s only one you, one beautiful and amazing you and we need you.
Depression is a real nightmare, anxiety creeps in like suffocating fog. No one deserves to live that way and you don’t have to either. Fight it and find yourself in the process. I believe you can because I believed I could. No matter where, how and why we came here, we’ve all have had our challenges, so hold on to what we all have in common and use it to your advantage.
Taking charge is the most responsible thing we can do for ourselves, for our families and for the world around us. If you feel you are in the middle of a crisis or are trying to find a bilingual therapist or psychiatrist there are resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 and also https://www.psychologytoday.com
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a bimonthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska