Today our guest is Olivia Shepherd, from Columbia SC. She is currently operating a small business for more than 20 years! She is trying to get the word out about Mental Illness in the black community, we don't discuss it enough and since she suffers from depression she would like to be the one who speaks openly about her everyday struggles and how she pretends to have a normal life! BlackGirlDown "We don't look like we hurt" Is her brand that she is trying to test out! We have conducted an interview with her.
How do you intend to get the word out about mental illness and depression with 'BlackGirlDown'?
I plan on getting the word about Mental Illness, through my volunteer work at a local homeless shelter. I will be speaking to several young ladies who are homeless and suffer like do. I also tend to use social media as well, since this is the fastest way to reach a large audience.
Do you feel it is stigmatising to use the words 'black girl down'?
I don't feel it's stigmatizing at all, frankly, in the African American community, we don't speak enough about mental illness. Usually, this swept under the rug because our spouses, friends and family members tend to think this is just something you can "shake off" or "pray about". So getting the word that Depression is a real illness and you can't just hide it anymore.
How do you consider a life that is 'not normal'?
Life isn't normal anymore for people who suffer from mental illness because this disease seems to take over life and brain. Depression changes the way you look at yourself and how you feel about life. This isn't how life should and we don't feel normal at all.
What are the usual things you do to pretend that you have a normal life?
The things I do to pretend life is normal is to wear pretty clothes, fix my hair and fake a mile so big your face hurts.
Which are the ways you speak openly about your everyday struggles?
I speak openly about struggles to everyone, I try to show them that just because I look good on outside, doesn't mean I'm not suffering. Mental Illness is real!
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