The discovery of my own mental health challenges was when I was about 25 years old. Before this, my life was filled with ups and downs, moments of isolation, tremendous anxiety, and a deep sense of #hopelessness. Growing up in a family marked by machismo, generational trauma, substance abuse, psychological abuse, parental separation, and my parents own mental health challenges, didn’t help.

I was often told that I had nothing to be hopeless about, I had a roof over my head, food on my table, a family (although super dysfunctional), but still a family. All I ever got from my family was “padeces de sueño” (you suffer from sleep) when I would opt to sleep through Christmas dinners or family gatherings. I did not know that no matter what anyone told me, my brain was not wired that way.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (@NAMICommunicate), lack of information or misunderstanding about #mentalhealth, privacy concerns, and language barriers, amongst others, are pressing issues in the Latino community. We cannot treat what we do not understand. It wasn’t until I started reading more into the subject of mental illness, that led me to discover depression and its different forms.

Around that time, I also started running. Running was my escape, a moment to diffuse and not overthink, a moment where I felt competent and loving towards myself. With an openness to begin my #healing process, I decided it was time to see a therapist.

Through my employer, I was finally insured and able to afford #therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was a life-changing experience that I wish more people in the Latino community were open to having. There are many forms of treatment but this one has been working for me.

I am now enrolled in a social work program at a university; managing school and work full-time, as well as an internship at Painted Brain, and I ran a half-marathon two years ago. I want to have these conversations in communities like the one I was raised in with the hope that people seek treatment and see that there is hope.

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