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I Did Not Wake Up Like This: How I Won My Battle Against Mental Illness

• Apr 12, 2016
This post first appeared on

Although I love the power of social media and the incredible and sometimes life-changing opportunities it can yield, I often struggle with the one-dimensionality of the whole thing. Folks see this one image of you and form opinions based on that one moment in time. I don’t want to discount my beauty &  fashion blogging, because it’s fun, and I LOVE it, but it’s such a small part of who I am. When I was getting my MFA in Writing from at Sarah Lawrence College, one of the first things we learned  about story-telling is that each character must be presented in 3D. In other words, every character, even the ones we want to hate, must be presented from every angle. When I create content I am telling my story, but what kind of story-teller would I be if I didn’t share all the parts that make me whole?
Clinical Depression/ Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
I was first diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 17 years old. Since that time I have committed myself to being aware of my triggers and aware of my propensity to be self-deprecating. I rely on friends and family who understand my limited ability to clap for myself, who, at a minimum, will tell me they love me even when I am not lovable.

I began cutting myself when I was 14 and continued to do so until I was about 18 years old. As I reflect on that time in my life it feels almost surreal. I don’t even know where I got the idea that  cutting myself was the thing to do. I can only tell you this: I hated myself. I’d imagine wrapping a rope around my neck and hanging myself in the garage or slitting my own throat, but all I could manage were the superficial razor slits on my wrists and forearm. I existed in a state of such overwhelming anxiety that I convinced myself that somehow not being here was the only means of attaining some relief. I just wanted some relief.
How I Got Help
The simple answer is therapy and medication. Anti-depressants and talk therapy saved my life. That and age. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to be grateful for every small blessing. And when my mind isn’t clear enough to see these blessings I have my friends to remind me. I’ve also learned that life is rife with challenges, but we must learn to make choices that allow us to thrive in the face of adversity.
What You Should Do If You or Someone You know May Be Suffering from Depression
Clinical Depression is a mental illness and it is life-threatening. And it does not discriminate. I’m writing this post because I know the stigma against mental illness in the Black community and I am not ashamed of my beginnings. I survived because I got help, please do the same.

To Learn  More About my Story Watch this video:

About Lisa Jean Francois

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

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Justice S
Justice S
6 years ago

She is right being mentally ill in the black community is like being gay.They ignore it or shun you.We should do better as a commuity.She is brave for saying this.

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