I am Valerye, and I have No Shame.
It was in college.
During the fall semester in 2010, I was taking 6 classes and was probably behind in 4 of them. I had moved out of my parent’s house and was still getting used to not living home. My 2 year relationship was….let’s just say it was the beginning of the end and I was oblivious to it. I knew something was definitely wrong, but I ignored it. I was extremely sad about it and had no idea how to deal.
While all of this was happening, I kept a smile on my face for everyone. I didn’t tell anyone how stressed I felt with these changes and took its toll on me internally. I had a meeting with a writing professor of mine about the upcoming paper. I went into the meeting seemingly normal with my (very) late second draft. She expressed concern and simply asked me, “Are you alright?” I broke down crying. I couldn’t even get my words together to tell her anything. After we talked, she encouraged me to see someone. She shared her own story about seeing a professional and how talking to someone really helped. She suggested making an appointment with someone from the counseling staff at school, just to talk. I remember her making me laugh because she made a joke about how it was free anyway since I was a student.
I made my appointment shortly after our meeting. I saw a really great psychologist named Kate for the rest of the semester. She was sweet, but didn’t hold back during out talks. That semester I was able to create a plan with the help of Kate to finish my work and end the semester successfully. Even though I was “only” dealing with anxiety and high levels of stress, I was so glad I talked to someone. Stress and anxiety can cause people to do destructive things, so I knew it was important to get it under control. Sometimes you can’t express to your family or friends about your pressures, failures, or anything that’s weighing heavily on you.
After that, I looked into therapy/counseling in the black student community and found that black students aren’t reaching out to professionals for mental issues. We often times rely on religion, family, and other means of getting by. Also, the fear of being deemed “crazy” or weak deters us from engaging in our mental health.Those who have reached out to professionals for their mental health shouldn’t be afraid to speak out about their story. We see those in the public eye who have struggles, and we laugh and make jokes not thinking about them possibly dealing with something deeper than we can imagine. Let’s encourage being outspoken about mental health and not silent. I’ve seen a psychologist to deal with issues before. No Shame.
No Shame Day, created by the awesome Bassey Ikpi, is to finally put that stigma to rest. Ms. Ikpi has a non-profit for mental awareness called The Siwe Project. Please go the website to learn more about it.
Hi. I’m Valerye, and I have No Shame.