Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Veteran of the United States Navy
My name is Natasha Mills and I served in the World’s Greatest Navy for 8 years. I was diagnosed with Depression in 2010. I tried medication for a while but later found out that I didn’t like it and wanted to try living without it. I can’t say it has been easy dealing with depression, but it has become more manageable through the years with different coping skills. There are times when my brain becomes a conspiracy theorist and depression holds me under the water too long, but I continue to fight my way back to the top.
Advice to Veterans
My advice to other veterans experiencing a mental health condition, is to not ignore it. Recognize that you are in pain and get the help needed. Do research to get a better understanding of your condition. For veterans who are out of the military and didn’t separate with any benefits, you can get services from Easter Seals (http://www.easterseals.com/our-programs/military-veterans/). They have counselors who work with veterans to find the help needed.
Family and Friends
Ways that family and friends can support veterans is by getting a better understanding of the mental health condition that a veteran has and what it entails. Veterans can also be proactive and share information with their family and friends about the mental health condition and specific situations that are challenging for them.
Growing up in a Black family, mental health was never taken seriously. My family and some friends believed that I was just “really sad” or not “pulling myself up by the boot straps”, when it came to my depression. My parents couldn’t understand that my suicidal thoughts weren’t a cry for attention but mental anguish. Fortunately, I did have family and friends who understood what I was going through and were willing to help.
Natasha’s Book Recommendation
Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith (Author: Monica A. Coleman)