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Demetria Tiffany’s story

“Depression was something that someone else had but not me.”

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

I dealt with depression for 5 years before I got help, and 6 years before I was able to cope with it on a healthy level.

Depression was something that someone else had but not me. Depression was never going to affect this family. I always had to push my problems aside, because that’s what people do to succeed and get somewhere in life. Success in life comes first. You go to high school and graduate with a 4.0 (there’s no reason not to), go to college and graduate with a 4.0 (there’s no reason not to), have a great career, have a big family and live happily ever after.

I was also taught that depression was for those who wore only black and hated the world. Depression was for those who “look” depressed. I always appeared happy, I thought I was happy. Deep down I didn’t realize it, but I was not happy. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy with the world or other people though. I loved the world and loved people (I still do), I just didn’t like myself. I always laughed, I had friends, and I did well in school most of the time. Depression didn’t “look” like that.

How did you overcome this experience?

I first told my dad, who then took me to a therapist, who then sent me to a psychiatric hospital for 10 days, then for 7 days, and again for 5 days. I’ve been in therapy (with the same therapist) and taking medications for 4 years now.

I learned how to distract myself and learn how to talk about it as well. I researched it and started to talk to other people and ask what their experience has been with mental illness.

I learned how to cope in healthy ways such as writing, riding my bike, drawing, and volunteering at my church.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

Depression doesn’t have a “look.” Depression is not bad or taboo and can be managed. Talk to someone who can help or get you help. Find something healthy to make you happy. Take care of yourself. Take a you day and put yourself first. Your health comes first.

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