Hey. Growing up with immigrant african parents, mental health wasn’t talked about at all. We never talked about our feelings unless there was a clear explanation behind it. I grew up repressing trauma and becoming numb to my surroundings and it became my new normal until seventh grade where I cracked. The shield I had around me started to implode and I became overly emotional. My mom didn’t like that at all. Trying to explain why I was hyper some days and unable to move other days was labeled as me just being a teenager and I was okay with it. I built back that wall around myself until it got even worse by tenth grade. Mental health was talked about, but I didn’t want to self diagnose. I had a mental breakdown and ended up telling everything to a guidance counselor who told my mom. She only made things worse and I ended up self harming multiple times until my mom saw the scars and I was taken to a psychiatrist because my mom wanted me “to be cured of my disease”. I was evaluated and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ptsd. My parents don’t believe in me seeing a shrink or taking meds but with the help of some of my friends, who I now think of as family, I’m a year self harm free and trying to do my best everyday. Everyone has their up and down days and it is important to talk about it. I know I’m going to have to live with my diagnoses for the rest of my life and that’s why it’s important to talk about it so it can be normalized.