I remember always being proud of who I was, meaning being American-Mexican, a Chicana. I mean I was the 15 year old wearing pro-immigration, Zapata, Juanes and Chicano pride shirts to school. I listened and danced to banda, cumbias and rock en español. I actively looked for books written by Latinos at my nearby library with very very little success. Throughout high school my major projects had to do with the plight and history of Latinos in this country. I was tired of being ignored. Of my community being ignored in the history books, in our school and in my town. I wanted our existence acknowledged along with the inequity that followed us. I was not afraid of the stares or whispers or ruffling feathers. And as of late I have recognized that fire I once had has been missing for a few years. I think, as I grew older I became complaisant and I lost some of my voice and identity too. -Bella
During the summer of 2015 I began to feel a little off. I couldn’t tell what is was right away, there were just little signs here and there. The fatigue came first, soon after I had difficulty concentrating, remembering details and the insomnia crept in. I began to retrieve from activities I enjoyed. I think deep down I knew what it was right away, I just kept hoping it would all pass. It didn’t and I really should not have been so naïve. I had stopped taking care of myself. I was barely doing yoga, meditating, cooking well for myself and taking on too much work. I was pulling myself apart and because of that I began to crack, horribly. I could no longer read, I had no energy and the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness kept me crying in bed. I could not escape this feeling that at the time I would describe as a dark hole. For the life of me, I could not describe it. And so before things got really bad, I decided to get help. It wasn’t enough to just try to get back on my routine. I contacted my health insurance provider and set an appointment with mental health department.
Let me tell you, the psychologist that did my intake was fucken horrible. I almost did not continue the process because of that individual. The way he made me feel and the phrases and words he used made me feel even more ridiculous then I already did. But, I wanted to feel better, I needed help so I continued with the process. Luckily, the therapist I was assigned to was not a judgmental asshole and I began psychotherapy once a week for a couple of months.
The first time I tried therapy it was far more cognitive behavioral therapy, really developing coping skills. This time around we focused more on psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches to try to discover the root causes of my depression/anxiety. Though it was far less enjoyable than my past therapy I learned so much more about myself. It was grueling and there was hard work that really had to be put in outside of the sessions. I had to have some really emotionally intense conversations with family and friends, but I could say it was all for the better. Of course, I was not “cured” overnight and my depression did not miraculously disappear but I am doing much better, most days. Most importantly I had to come to terms with a couple of things I am sure I was unconsciously avoiding or not willing to admit to myself that I am still struggling with today. -Bella