Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Draft 2 for "No shame day"

My name is Jaha Zainabu and I have no shame. In March of this year I was diagnosed as bipolar 2. For many years I had been dealing with mental bouncies from ups and downs to an extreme I knew wasn't "normal". I would go from high to uncontrollable HIGHS where I would be laughing beyond the joke, prancing around not easily able to be still and overall in an extremely good mood for reasons I couldn't understand and certainly not explain. Shortly after the high I would get very depressed again for reasons I could never understand. I went to see an herbologist once who looked through a tube and into my eyes, made some grunt and um hum noises then told me I had a "chemical imbalance." When I asked him what that was all he told me was, "Well, you know what chemicals are right?" Um, yeah. "And you know what an imbalance is right?" Okaaaa? "So that's what you have." After that I didn't bother checking it out.

I live mostly as an artist but usually have some kind of job on the side. My jobs are rarely jobs I have to go to every day and do the same routine. That helps. When I had jobs I had to go to every day and do the same thing at the same time, I felt incredibly trapped and the routine after a whie would trigger a depression episode. When I started having severe depression episodes and uncontrollable ups too often I knew that I needed to seek professional help. On the day I saw my therapist I sat on the couch in her zen like office and was so off. It was her first time meeting me and even she could see it.

I told her details of my depressive thoughts and she called a friend of mine who worked nearby to take me to the hospital that day. I am forever thankful to her for that. I was later checked into the hospital and treated for a week. I have tried different methods of treatment and have found medication along with prayer, journaling, blogging, walking and art to work best for me right now.

I speak publicly about the disease because I want others who may be experiencing it to know that they are not alone. It makes me sad and angry when I hear messages from the pulpit, from parents and others in postitions of influence and authority putting down getting mental help. For some reason, if I break my leg or need help regulating my blood pressure then it's encouraged that I go see a doctor, but if I need help dealing with a mental issue then I should only pray it away or not claim it. Anything but see a mental health professional about it.

Well, I do believe in the power of prayer and that's what gave me the strength to go and get help. Too many of us are living with post-traumatic stress and other disorders and need help but are afraid to reach out. I speak publicly for myself and for them. Once I asked my godmother why I go through so much. Why artists go through so much. She quickly responded, "because you will tell it."

My name is Jaha Zainabu and I have no shame.

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