I take antidepressants that doesn’t mean I’m crazy. It actually means I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that doesn’t produce serotonin.

We don’t shame people that have to take insulin for diabetes why do we shame those that take an antidepressant….

I can’t remember when I started to be depressed I really think that I’ve been depressed/ suffered from anxiety as a young child. I didn’t seek professional help until my late twenties.

I am the oldest of three children, I come from an immigrant family. My father worked full time and then some more while my mother stayed home with us. My father was the only one that knew English and how to drive but he was always working and wasn’t available much. It was up to me ,as a young child to take the role of head of the household when my dad wasn’t around. Imagen being an eight year old little girl and having to translate for your mom at school, doctors appointments, restaurants, and everywhere you went. I was already I a shy child, I’ve always been an introvert so you can imagen my anxiety level was sky high my whole life.

Going to school wasn’t easy, I went to an all white school where the students and teachers weren’t the friendliest. I had a few good teachers but there was one teacher in particular that told me people like me don’t go to college and that college was really hard when I expressed I wanted to be an English teacher. Well, joke is on you Mr. Roof because I am a high school teacher and I graduated college with a bachelors. As a young girl with anxiety and low self esteem that really resonated with me and I thought to myself if a teacher doesn’t think I’m smart enough for college then maybe I’m not.

How many of us that are Mexican-American feel like we live in limbo? We live in two worlds, we have our home life our “Mexican” life where we are expected to act like a Mexican and be a good Mexican girl/ daughter ,but also be independent but not too independent. Don’t you dare have an opinion that contradicts your cultural, don’t be a malcriada. Get good grades ,go to college, stay home and help with your siblings, clean, cook, study for your final, don’t forget to pick up your brother from school, take him to football practice, go to class, help your dad with his business, try to have a social life, don’t have to much fun because you are a girl. Be smart but not too smart because then you are a creída, the list of expectations is endless.

If that isn’t enough to give you anxiety then try to fit into a world that doesn’t accept you. The only home you know the place where you were born but this place keeps telling you that your people need to leave. That you need to leave, how are you expected to leave your home. They tell you that you aren’t like those Mexicans like that is suppose to make you feel better. We are expected to check the box “white” but aren’t accepted by our country. How many times have I been told to go back to Mexico, too many. How many times have I been told to speak English when I’m having a conversation with my mom at the grocery store too many. How many times have I been asked to see my green card , too many.

Living in between two worlds is enough to give anyone anxiety and/or depression. So, next time your tia calls you crazy because you see a therapist give her some knowledge about mental health because our community (Hispanic) needs to be educated on mental health. Please know that it’s okay to take antidepressants and see a therapist.

Peace & Love,

Joanna H

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