I carry the word bipolar with me. Memories of long anxious nights spent in hospital beds linger in my mind. For a time, lithium held me steady. I rarely felt manic and started to believe the sickness had passed. Then something broke.
The stigma still exists. The saying remains among black folks that we do not see therapists. "Chile only needs a kick in the ass. That should straighten her up!" "There's nothing wrong with her. Should just quit acting a fool!" There is a saying that black folks do not have nervous breakdowns, that we are not entitled to have them. Our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not have them, neither should we. Look at our history. They have been though more than you ever will. Bullshit.