I am an RN for 19 years. And an African-American female, who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2008.
I struggle with my mental health diagnosis alone mostly, because the stigma of having a mental health disorder in the African-American community is great. When you are out of work due to a set back from a mental disorder, no one helps. Not from the church, or from work, or neighbors, because it is not an accepted disorder, like cancer, or heart disease. Often, you are ostracized, teased and ridiculed to your face, or behind your back.
I struggle alone, and have many family members who struggle with mental illness as well, but are in denial. They choose to self medicate with alcohol and OTC and illegal street drugs. I do not fit in with the family, and get very little help from them, because I choose to go to counseling with professional and licensed therapist and doctors, as well as take prescribed medications.
This is one if the greatest challenges in life, and if I had it my way, I would have cancer, so that I could get empathy, support, and real help.Thank you for allowing me to share.