Blog /July 2012
I’ve been California dreaming since I was a plastic barrette wearing, double- dutch loving, Brooklyn kid with ashy knees. I wanted to be a movie star, an actress, a singer, or really just anyone else. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t escape the one thing that was always there, my depression. Depression was like a shadow; depending on the lighting it could be all encompassing or very tiny. I was told I was “too dramatic” or “too sensitive”, but really I was just in “too much pain”. When my mother took me to Georgia to start a new life, I couldn’t wait to get back home to New York. My dream came true, and for a while I flourished back home in a city of tall skyscrapers, oozy cheese pizzas, electric lights, and bodegas.
The city pulsed through me, but I couldn’t keep up with that never-ending tempo. Soon, I felt like I was being trampled by the job uncertainty, unhealthy relationships, and no boundaries. The shadow of depression grew larger and larger. So much so that I had to relocate back to the last place I ever wanted to be, Georgia. But a strange and wonderful thing happened while being in Georgia, I found my voice. This voice wanted to tell a story with a good ending. This voice left a job after experiencing discrimination for having depression. This voice spoke to my California dreams of a Mental Health Services Act and told me to move. Amongst a laundry list of things, this act allows for increased funding to support county mental health programs statewide.
So I packed my bags, and drove cross-country to see what California had to offer. Apparently, California had PEERS, a consumer-run family, doing the work I was meant to do with love and support and no judgment. I am the Statewide Project Coordinator for PEERS. This so much better than a dream, because I’m awake and its real.