"Mental Health" – AF

(I am the girl on the left in the picture above).

(I am the girl on the left in the picture above).

I will be a freshman at Dunbar High School in the fall.

I’ve had many events happen in my life, both good and bad. One of the most painful events that I’ve experienced had to do with my  aunt. She had Schizophrenia, a mental disorder that causes people to abnormally interpret reality. In the African American community, there is a tendency to deny that mental health disorders exist. My aunt and I always had a great relationship. However, my parents began to notice changes in her behavior. We didn’t think much of it at first; we thought it was just because of aging. One of my favorite memories with my aunt was when we would go to her backyard and plant flowers. I would help her paint stuff and we would make art for her house. Then we started noticing changes. She started paying more attention to the tiniest things. She thought they had meaning when they did not. She already had problems with anxiety and depression.

Bipolar runs in our family. My mom has it, another one of my aunts has it, and so does my uncle and grandfather. One day, when I was over my aunt's house she was cooking for us. She believed there was a pot over the burner but there wasn't, she hallucinated a pot being there, and she burned her arm badly. This is when we knew she needed to get professional help. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia , she tried to commit suicide a few times, then she had a good period of time when she made lots of progress! Then, she just decided the world was too much and committed suicide. It was a very sad time for me and my family, this disorder caused her to commit suicide. My advice for the younger kids they may be entering middle school or high school , is to pay attention to your anxiety levels and depression. Small things like this can lead to bigger things, like bipolar, and depression, etc. Pay attention to your mental health, it's important. A quote that is important to me is “All the makeup in the world won't make you less insecure” it comes from my favorite singer, Melanie Martinez, from her song “Sippy Cup.” This quote is important to me because it tells you even if you have the very best makeup, it won't make you less insecure because you still haven't built enough confidence to feel comfortable with yourself.

–AF