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In today’s society, we sometimes only consider persons who are experiencing the flu, communicable or non-communicable diseases to be sick.

It is because of the lack of education or first-hand experience with other health issues, that persons are unaware of the prominence of mental health illness in our homes, workplaces and communities.

The following story is the third in a series of diary entries of a mental health patient living here in Barbados. Why is she sharing her story? To open your eyes to those who are silently crying for help, with the hopes that you may possibly save a life.

Dear Diary,

I wish people would stop! Just stop talking to me; stop touching me; stop calling my name. They are always trying to make a joke, but I don’t think it’s funny. They have to comment on my appearance or attire, but I never asked for an opinion. They keep asking personal questions, but I have nothing to share. Can’t they see the look of disgust and discomfort on my face?

I’m really beginning to hate people. But what’s worst is the fact that I am struggling with this mental illness and have to keep this fake smile plastered on my face. Why? Because people wouldn’t understand; they can be cruel, and I don’t want to be labelled as the “crazy woman”. I don’t want people running around spreading my business.

Of course I told my parents, but I am not sure that was the best idea. While Daddy has been very supportive, Mummy, a woman of God, believes that all I need to do is pray. Doesn’t she know that is all I have been doing from the onset of this thing?

She believes that I am not praying hard enough and it is for this reason that God has not touched me with his wand and immediately healed me. She doesn’t understand that what I am going through is due to a chemical off-balance in my brain, and it will take medication, therapy and time to fix it. So, when she asks how I am doing, I simply say “I’m fine”.

As for my closest friends, they have been my pillars of strength throughout this ordeal. They sit and listen to me cry and vent about how I feel, they console me when I’m feeling down, they help me cover up the bruises which I inflict on myself, and they comfort me when I think there is no way out of this. But, they also have their own lives, their own families, their own problems, and I feel terrible placing my burdens on them. So, again, I have started lying and saying “I’m fine” when they ask how I’m doing.

Diary, I feel so alone on this journey. I wish someone could just see through me when I say “I’m okay” and tell me that they know different. I wish I could just be real about my feelings and not have people look at me like they want to run away.

Diary, I think the time has come to stop holding back and really open up to my doctor. I think it will be the first step to my recovery.

To get more information on depression and find out the warning signs, you may click here.

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