MASK OFF


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Talking about my struggles have both freed and challenged me at the same time. It’s easy to hide my problems acting as if they don’t exist, while blending in with the rest of the world who appears to be more functional than myself. Although I’ve made it my mission to be open and honest, it’s still difficult to bear when you have people openly judging you. It’s easy to say I don’t care about what other people think, but that again will be a cover up to what I really feel. I do care about what other people think. That has been the main source holding me back from achieving anything authentic in my life; what lies right beyond that emotion is fear. It seems like fear plays a part in every thought and action in life whether it be good or bad. There’re times when I’m superwoman without the cape tackling all obstacles, and everyone surrounding me is exposed to my infectious energy, as I spread smiles all around. During these moments I’m making all the right decisions, and saying all the right things. My energy is through the roof and whatever problems yesterday held, no longer has an impact on today’s outcome.

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“It’s easy to hide my problems acting as if they don’t exist, while blending in with the rest of the world who appears to be more functional than myself.”

When I’m in this state of bliss, the only thing that can damper this moment is a reminder of the damage PMDD caused, and will continue to cause. We all have a past but what happens when that past is reoccurring in your present life, and we have no control over the damage it causes. I wish I could wake up one day and put it behind me, or at least put it into remission. The scars from PMDD are UGLY and REAL. Each time I look for a job, or try to rekindle a broken friendship; I’m reminded of the scars that’s still lingering. Will a school understand that you can be a straight ‘A’ student for a month straight, and suddenly become their most unreliable student? Will a job understand why getting up to actually go to work at times is nearly impossible? Will a person get that you’re a great friend some of the time, then other times you’re emotionally unavailable to them? I’ve been so afraid to start projects because I have a record of not finishing them, and I’m reminded every single time I’m forced to look at my progress. Holding on to meaningful relationships is even harder when at times I’m seemingly not the same person they fell in love with. It gets depressing knowing that I have what it takes to conquer anything in life, but I also have a disability that hinders me from achieving mostly everything I set out to do. Acknowledging that I deserve a chance to be great is what keeps me in the game. Scars represent healing, strength and resilience. It shows that you’re indestructible and you didn’t quit.


Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

I haven’t written anything in over a month because the fear of constant exposure has been haunting me. During this time I’ve been so disconnected with myself it’s almost unbearable. How can I give up when so many woman need to hear my story? How can I give up when so many of us are silent in fear of being judged? A close person once asked me “How many people do you think attempted suicide in their lifetime?” This forced me to search suicide statistics, and according to Afsp.org “On average there are 129 suicides per day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide. In 2017 there were an estimated 1,400,000 attempted suicide attempts.” (1) This isn’t shocking to me, but the question that followed is what triggered something in me. She asked “Well how many brothers do you have? How many of them do you think attempted suicide, and never spoke about it?” That question still brings tears to my eyes. I was so worried about coming out about my suicide attempts that I lost sight of the purpose of this whole website Speak’N Up. My main objective is to talk about things that we don’t talk about ENOUGH.


Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

We hide our pain and scars to present a tough exterior, but at the same time forgetting that our souls need freedom too. I told myself that talking about my struggles with mental illness and suicide attempts is not an act of weakness; it’s an act of courage. It’s the strongest I’ve ever had to be in my entire life. I want people to be aware, and understand that the person next door from you could be struggling, and you wouldn’t know. The prettiest face in the crowd could be struggling, and you wouldn’t know. The wealthiest, seemingly happiest, healthiest person can be struggling, and you wouldn’t know. As a black woman in America I’m often portrayed as being dramatic, or hormonal if I were to show any type of emotion. This made it difficult for me to voice what I felt growing up in fear of being thrown into that box. I’ve mastered being a Strong Black Woman on the outside, while hiding inside of the bathroom and attempting to slit my wrist, and coming back out covering myself up with sleeves over my wrist with a smile on my face. I grew up around my brothers who I’ve never seen them cry. I could imagine what their holding inside of them, and for what? This is what we do as a society. We don’t talk about the major truths, but we praise the illusions we’ve created to cover them up.
There’s beauty in the struggle, don’t be afraid of your truth.

-Love, ELLiE

If you need help, and you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts, please visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org and also http://www.Afsp.org

(1) http://www.Afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

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