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Three Black Women Discuss Their First Time Experiences With Mental Health

"I was 8 when I realised that the brain could go wrong. We were in the middle of class and the girl on the table next to me started shaking. The teacher told us to move the chairs and tables out the way. Her brain just gets too excited sometimes. Epilepsy.

I was 13 when I realised that I wasn’t happy. I would cry every time I had to go back to school. I thought that God had created me wrong. No not that. I thought he had created me “fearfully and wonderfully” but that I had messed it up somehow.

I was 15 when I saw that thoughts could kill. When I saw my friend become nothing but skin and bone because her thoughts told her to.

I was 18 when I wanted to die. When death became appealing. Anything to stop feeling the way I was feeling.

I was 19 when I sought help from the GP.

I was 20 when my mum told me that she had felt the same way too. Years ago, when she was younger than I was. That she wanted to die.

Why did it take 20 years for me to learn about the mind? About the health of your mind? About what to do if it goes wrong?

Bad things don’t disappear because we want them to. Because we try to forget.

As black women, we should know this."

Alice Walker: