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I managed to hide all of this from my mother, except for one incident when I was 17 and going through an incredibly low period.
Like many people with a mental illness, I showed no visible signs of anxiety or depression.
I had a large Chinese family on my mother’s side (my father is white).
But when I look back, I realize that we shied away from the important topics.
On top of all of that, we’re pressured by society (and Chinese culture) to start a family at a much younger age than men, meaning we’re on a shorter timeline to achieve anything.
No wonder Asian-American women have a higher lifetime rate of suicidal thoughts than the general population. I didn’t think it was a problem: I assumed it was normal to feel low and isolated for long periods of time.
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“He’ll put ‘bipolar’ on your record and then you’ll never be able to get a job.” I nodded into the receiver. The only time it was “quiet” was when the Mahjong table came out and the only noise you’d hear was the click-clacking of tiles.
The table below lists all the mental health chat rooms this site hosts, and also displays how many people are currently talking in each chat room.
Mental health was rarely discussed, but when it was, it was always in a negative light.
At no point did any of my relatives tell me having a mental disorder, theoretically at this point, was unacceptable — I could tell by their hushed tones, and their quick dismissals, that mental illness was not an option. If relatives felt comfortable enough teasing me about my grades or weight, then surely they’d be okay with talking about mental health? Most people know the stigma associated with mental illness.
From the ages of 13 to 18, I had several anxiety attacks.