The experience of Stigma of Mental & Emotional Disorders and Tips to Support you to live a Purposeful life through Self-Help According to The World Health Organization, depression is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, and is anticipated to become the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. An estimated of 121 million people worldwide are currently living with some form
of depression and/or mental health issues. Of these individual people, less than 25% have access to quality treatment through psychotherapy and antidepressants.
The labeling of depression as a disability grinds my gears and it sounds crippling. Yes, depression, anxiety, bi-polar and other mental and emotional health issues are not easy to cope with, however with faith and an extraordinary support system people struggling with such illnesses can live a purposeful life. I am a victim and a survivor of depression and anxiety. I have struggled with the disorder
at an extremely young age. I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 15 years old, and anxiety at the age of 23. It wasn’t until I reached middle school when I realized something was odd. My interaction
amongst my class peers wasn’t normal. I preferred to be isolated.
I remember seeing a child physiologist because my younger sister was extremely hyper in school.
My Mom would take my sister and me weekly to this Psychologist that would ask me a million horrifying questions. I remember the therapist telling my mom that I was a joyous sad girl and that my younger
sister requires medication to stay balance. I remember my mom deciding not to move forward with the medication, and then we completely stopped seeking therapy. It was as though we never visited a therapist. Being brought up by a single mom, whom was born and raised of Cuban decent, she lacked the knowledge of how to pursue and deal with children with mental and emotional disorders.
Present day, both my younger sister and I are doing righteously well. However, I lived a roller-coaster of unstable and reoccurring breakdowns of moments where I did not feel life was worth living
with countless attempts of taking my life away. There were days I did not shower, days I did not have a desire to show up for work. I began to isolate myself from my love ones and society because I was
dealing with issues that I was trained not to talk about because I would be looked as weak and crazy in the eyes of my community , peers and family.
I lived my life pretending that I was fine. My strength as a people pleaser was the mask I wore to hide the experience of Stigma. This approach of pretending that I did not have an issue eventually took
over my life. I was stuck and refuse to talk about what I was experiencing. I refuse to seek professional counseling. My life was swirling out of control and I did not even realize it until close friends would approach me lovingly and say, “You should go seek help”. At the moment, I thought I was strong enough to withhold this experience and live a purposeful life. Realistically, this struggle was taking over my life and it was affecting my individuality as a woman. The condition was also affecting my relationships at the work place and my relationship with Men, family, and friends. I was a ticking time bomb ready to explode, as a matter of fact when I consume alcohol I was the incredible hulk and my life began to cripple in front of my eyes. I became disconnected, violate, and reluctant.
I realize some people did not want to deal with me, but continued to suppress me because they felt pity. Some folks would tell me to snap out of it and others would tell me I was delusional. All these ways, does not support anyone experiencing mental/emotional disorders, it actually makes matters worse. I choose to be in solitude and in anger for many years, until one day I tapped into my faith.
One day I decided that I wanted to live in harmony. I decided to see a psychotherapist and started from scratch. In the beginning it was painful to peel back all the stories, experiences and coming into
reality that I do have a condition that must be treated. However, at that very moment I chose to take my power back to live a purposeful life that I rightfully deserve to live. I could no longer let my
circumstances handle me. I decided to openly speak about my conditions to feel empowered, and manage my depression and anxiety by incorporating mind, body and spirit techniques.
Here are some tips you can try at home and or outdoors to support you to bring balance and harmony. I also recommend seeing a health professor to cater to your type of disorder:
- There is something out there that is bigger than yourself. It is a source with force that guides you when you choice to be connected. I called that source God or The Divine, others call it higher power, Allah, The Universe, etc. Stay Prayer up and put in all your energy requesting healing and stability for you well being. Trust me when I tell you , when I connected with God I began too see and feel progress in my life and started being proactive. Praying and Mediation keeps me grounded and supports me with making conscious decisions,
not that overwhelming .
2) Nourishment: Drink tons of water to keep you hydrated, eat to live ....Eat tons of veggies and fruits. I recommend seeing a nutrionists and get tested for any food allergies. The foods we eat does effect our body and moods. You want to be align with your health in all ascepts so eating healthy supports depression and other mental health issues.
3) Exercise- whatever physical activity brings you joy , just do it
4) Relax- Yoga is perfect and I highly recommend it. Take a vacation, pick up a book, pick up a hobby and utilize your creativity to bring you joy and harmony. My person favorite is writing. Go out there and buy yourself a journal and write about whatever you like. This is therapeutic and can support you in a mediative mode.
5) Be in service- This is my second favorite after praying. Being in service and contribution has been supporting tremendously this last year. To actually support other people expericning depression and
anxiety is empowering . Feeding the hungry is life changing, making someone day by just a simple gesture as a hug can heal not only yourself, but the world. Yes, I believe this to be true.
Please note I am not a license doctor, but I plan on becoming a certified life Coach in the next few months. Please seek professional help and incorporate my tips and/or find ways to cope and bring harmony and joy to begin healing and taking your life back.
My request is that those struggling with depression , come to terms and acceptance. Take action and just talk about it, not as a pity story but as an empowering story. This creates support to those hiding their struggle and builds awareness and community that is wanted and needed in our community.
Alexandra Tatis - CONTRIBUTOR
Born to Dominican and Cuban parents, Alexandra Tatis is a New York City native who has beaten the odds and has overcome the status quo when it comes to being a minority in the United States. Although faced with adversity and difficult moments in her life she has been able to rise above the critics through her love and dedication to writing.
Ever since Ms Tatis was a young girl she has always loved writing. She received the talent from writing from her father who although he doesn’t live in New York, Ms Tatis was very much influenced by him. Read FULL BIO