“I’ve got shame. I’ve got scars that I will never show. I’m a survivor in more ways than you know.” – Demi Lovato
Growing up in a conservative Hispanic family has its pros and cons. Pros: loyalty, great food, and valued traditions. Cons: no privacy, no going against the predominant opinion, and you must be religious. We all love our families, flaws and all. However, at some point we all take off the mask and start to realize that they will not always know what is right for us. When I was younger all I ever heard was, “Depression, that is the devil messing with your mind. Go to church.” No matter how many times I prayed and went to church and kneeled down on the pulpit asking for help I still felt the same way. For my family Depression is not really a disease. Somehow, they have made it into a demonic plague that can be ostracized by the flick of holy water. Now, I am not insulting religion, not at all. I have seen the wonderful side of believing implicitly and it has done wonders for the people in my life, myself included. Nevertheless, I have come to accept that their are certain things that I believe that my family does not.
I see depression as a disease because I live with it. Do I ever talk about it with them? No. Every time the subject comes up I am told the same thing over and over again. I am not complaining about my family, they believe what they believe and I love them for it. On the other hand, we have a difference in opinion and that is something that everyone struggles with, especially with family. So when I hear “Nena, tienes que rezar,” I now know that it is their way of dealing with something that they do not understand.
While we are ethnically the same and have the same cultural values, I know that I am more Americanized than many of my family members. As a result, my views do differ on certain things; however, I am still the same Island Girl who loves to dance salsa and play dominoes with the family. One day I hope to talk about it openly with them and have them be more receptive. My goal is to help others be open about their issues and seek help. Being Hispanic culturally makes it harder to deal with and seek treatment for Depression. I know every culture is different and no matter what the battle of Depression is a difficult one. This is just my experience that I wanted to share. If one person out there is suffering in silence, I hope you know you are not alone.