Growing up in the 90’s, Mental Health was not a thing. It wasn’t discussed, if you had “mental health issues” you were locked away from the world or fed pills until you learned to hide the symptoms of what you’re experiencing.

It’s only been in the last five to ten years that mental health has become a thing that people started to talk about.

When Michelle Obama was asked if she wanted to be the First Lady when she grew up, she said she didn’t know she could be.

Well, I didn’t know that I could talk about mental health until recently, I didn’t know that I had anything to say on the topic, and that’s because my brain had created layers of trauma survival techniques that allowed me to forget, what I had been through.

When the memories started to resurface, I had nothing to ground myself, I had no way to hold on. I remember buying an anchor – like an actual anchor, because it symbolized the fact that I knew I needed something to hold onto, because I knew internally what was coming. I ended up throwing it away in frustration, but I don’t regret that choice.

I threw it away because I knew then what I know now, when you are in the middle of a panic attack that can last days or months, a physical object might bring you comfort, but it’s not going to save you.

I learned that the hard way, and now here I am talking about mental health and I am feeling okay today. Not every day, not every hour of every day, some days, many days, I feel like I am drowning, or like I am not doing enough.

It almost always feels like it’s not enough. Today I saw a post quote that said:

“Are you done self sabotaging or do you need “six more months” to keep fuckin up your greatness? Askin for your Highest Self” ~Andre Blissett

It hit me, that the reason that I haven’t been working as hard as I could be working, is because I am not at one hundred percent. I am working at about sixty-percent efficiency, and that’s because, like many of you, am exhausted.

I measure my productivity by how I feel, but I also recognize that I have the luxury of time to deal with everything that I have been through.

I learned a long time ago that Doctors, Teachers, and people in positions of authority don’t care about how I feel, because even though they / were supposed to be there to help “me” they had their own shit going on. There is only so much that we can ask from people in positions of power, before they start to break too.

But where does that leave us? When Doctors tell us that no one cares, or when they refuse to listen to us talk about the symptoms of our illness, when they aren’t interested or willing to be the bouncing board upon which we share our experiences and stories, what do we do then?

For the first time in my life, I am getting open, honest, and authentic about what it means for me to be dealing with mental health issues, and it feels really good, but more than that, it feels important.

When I look at the website, from the outside, when I go to LoudMouthBrownGirl.Com, I feel a sense of pride because I built this with my own two hands. I wrote every word on this website, except for the posts that were written by submission.

I worked my ass off this year creating this brand, and being honest about my experiences as I was doing so, and I am really proud of myself. I’ve never been really proud of myself before. I’ve always been so focused on following in the footsteps of others, it never occured to me that I could set my own path.

I like to believe that at some point my littlest self in the world, saw her future self as someone who was going to do something great, but years of abuse and trauma overshadowed how I felt about myself, and taught me to hate everything I am.

I am learning to love all the pieces of me, but the more that I look at who I was, the more I realize I didn’t anddo not like that person at all.

Yes she was enthusiastic, and yes she helped a lot of people, but she was miserable, and mean, and devoted to ignoring all of her own problems because it was the only way to survive it all.

Yes she had a lot of people to party with, but she certainly didn’t have anyone to talk to about the big stuff with. That took years to find, and when I say I didn’t have anyone to talk to, it’s not because people weren’t willing, it’s because my singular focus was on hiding everything that I am.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say that LMBG was always meant to be a collective, it was always meant to be a group of women sharing their stories and being honest about how fucking hard and difficult it is to be a woman of color.

The more that I am meeting these powerful women, the more that I am looking up to them and I am finding that I am ignoring how strong I am.

Yes, what I went through was fucking horrible. No human should go through the kind of evil that I faced, and no I am not strong all the time. I am weak a lot, I don’t clean up after myself, I smoke too much weed and way too many cigarettes, and I am finding that I often take time to focus on myself, then I do to think about others.

There is a voice in my head that is always telling me that I am lazy, or that I am not good enough, and I doubt that voice is ever going to go away, but I do my best to ignore it, by doing the things that make me happy.

It doesn’t work all the time, but I am trying my absolute best to be the best version of myself, even if that means being uncomfortable by admitting to things that I’ve never talked about before.

The hardest thing you will ever do is be yourself in a world that tells you to be anything but yourself.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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