According to the National Institute of Mental Health, I share this day with approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. I am not alone, and I help others more than I help myself
#NoShameDay My story continues to help another teenager, college student, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers of those that are affected or support those that are mentally ill.
What I do is called, "Peer Counseling" and I take my job seriously.
There is a huge responsibility inside of me to help others assist their loved ones that are mentally ill. In the African-American community, we continue to ignore the signs of our loved ones and friends when they need our help the most. The signs are there and we have to acknowledge them.
I was diagnosed at the age of 15 and treatment began at 16. I was young and my peers did not know what I had to endure during this process. There were rumors started and I was at the hands of bullying during this time. I couldn't wait to leave home and start a new life but I couldn't run from being BIPOLAR. I have the disorder but it does not have me. I have learned what I can do to cope and what I can do to reach out for help. I recently got my first tattoo this year and its symbolism gives me LIFE.
The Semicolon project was started for those that have tried to end their lives with a period (by suicide attempt or cutting) and they survived. My semicolon reminds me of the work I have to continue to do in my community and the work I have to do on myself.
Next year I will be 30 years old and I have survived this mental disorder for over 15 years. I thank God for my journey and my process to endure it all but I am not done yet. Peer Counseling has afforded me the chance to look inside of another home or someone else's life and give them real advice that can work to help bring order and solace to their lives.
There's comfort in knowing that the people that reach out to me place this responsibility on me to help them find ways to help themselves or the people they love. I just want my race of people to be more accepting of us that are different from them and suffer from a mental ailment that continues to attempt to end our lives.
Unlike other Mental Illnesses, Bipolar Disorder can not be cured. But by the grace of God I will continue to lead the way in helping find a cure and ways for other people to win the battle over their minds. The mind is a terrible thing to waste and so is someone's LIFE. I need you to survive because your contribution to this world is greater than the thoughts that tell you that you're not worthy to live.
Image taken by Lifestyle Photographer Rebecca Morgan for Twenty7magazine.com