I grew up as an Americanized Haitian, in a country that still shows significant prejudice towards immigrants, black people, and women.
That racism and prejudice resulted in several identity issues for me, ranging from not feeling Haitian enough or not feeling American enough and experiencing firsthand the effects of how a lot of people feel negatively about black women.
During my formative years in Florida, these identities caused me great deal of anger and grief. As a child, no one talked to me about mental health, so I couldn’t put words to what I was feeling.
In the Haitian culture, mental illness is often misconstrued as laziness, and well-meaning family members often react in ways that aren’t helpful when someone is struggling. It was not until my early twenties, in college, that I learned what depression was and started to understand how it has affected my life through my teenage years.
A couple years ago I had my worst experience with depression, and at the time, I truly didn’t believe that there was help for me. I felt hopeless, but I began to see a therapist and started working through my feelings.
I would never wish that experience on anyone else, so I want to do my part where I can to help others find hope.
I started working at Lines for Life as a temporary employee in the Prevention team, to help with one of the annual conferences we host. The more I got to know the company, the culture, and its people, the clearer it has become that this is where I need to be.
The more time I spend at Lines for Life, the more I see that there’s no cookie cutter way that fits every person when it comes to healing. Being in this field allows me to be more empathetic and continue my personal growth.