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One Latina Talks About Breaking Down The Walls Of Stigma In The Latinx Community

In an ideal world, we would all play active roles in breaking down the mental health stigma. Dinner talks would be filled with

 “¿Mijo, cómo te has sentido?” 

“¿Cómo vas con tu medicina?” or

“¿Sigues yendo a yoga?” 

Showing emotion would be encouraged and vulnerability would be praised. 

But you and I both know, this isn’t the case when it comes to the world we live in. Growing up in the Central Valley, surrounded by what seemed like endless tomato fields, with two farm-working parents, I will be the first to admit that conversations about mental health were non-existent. Up until my last year of undergrad, I believed that anxiety attacks were an over-exaggeration of weak, pitiful people who couldn’t handle a little stress. Until of course, it happened to me. I suffered my first anxiety attack one night during my last semester at Fresno State. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced, and it changed my life forever. 

During the years that followed, I fought against cultural norms. For me, nothing else had worked, so I said ‘yes’ to therapy and anxiety medication, even when my family opposed it or didn’t quite understand it. It was hard. I felt misunderstood and out of place. I was conflicted about how people would judge me and my family if they found out that I sought outside help. 

But I am happy to report that things did get better. Therapy and medication helped tremendously, and my parents eventually came around to supporting my decision to seek help, primarily because they began to see the progress I was making. 

So yes, even though these conversations are tough, I believe they are absolutely necessary to ensure the wellbeing of our families and our future generations. Mental health conversations have to become an integral part of our families, especially within the cultural context.

There’s no doubt about it, the Latinx culture is beautiful! Its richness is felt in the music, food and strong family values. However, many aspects of the culture are not conducive for growth. Not being able to comfortably talk about our mental health because of the ensuing stigma is definitely one of them. Truth is, if we want to move our Latinx families forward, we must find ways to play a role in normalizing mental health conversations within our traditional families. There is no room for inaction. 

The good news is, you don’t have to be a hardcore mental health advocate to help! 

Empowered Bystanders Matter

We can choose to either be an empowered bystander or play an active role in this. Both can be equally important in normalizing these conversations. First, we must acknowledge that not everyone wants to be outspoken and actively pushing change forward. Regardless, empowered bystanders can still make a difference with what may seem like small insignificant acts. 

Here is how you can help as an empowered bystander: 

Withdraw from toxic dialogue.

Oftentimes within traditional family dynamics, we witness ideologies that are toxic for people experiencing mental health issues. Conversations in family reunions can sometimes be offensive and discouraging. As an empowered bystander, you have a choice to partake in this dialogue or completely withdraw from it. By simply choosing not to laugh at an offensive joke, for example, you take a subtle yet firm stance that you are not here for this, you do not agree with this behavior. 

Compare apples to apples.

You may not suffer from a mental health issue, but you can still observe and pinpoint opportunities for conversation. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say one of your siblings is contemplating taking medication for their mental health but is discouraged by your parent who says things like: 

“¡You don’t need that, you are not crazy,” or

“¡Que locuras! Mejor ponte a limpiar tu cuarto, es lo que debes de hacer!” 

As an empowered bystander, you have the power to respectfully interject and propose an idea like:

“Pa, how is that different from you taking your daily blood pressure medicine, you take that every day for you to function.”

In doing so, you suddenly propose a new thought, a new perspective. You don’t force change; you simply ask questions and initiate thoughtful conversations.  

For those of us who are personally impacted by mental health issues, and feel strongly about creating change, here is how you can help as an active participant: 

Embody and embrace the rebel persona. 

Within the cultural family context, we must acknowledge that taking an active role in breaking the mental health stigma often comes with feeling isolated. We will not always fit in. Understanding this upfront will make it easier to cope. We have to understand that our immediate family will not always be our frontline cheerleaders. This is 100% okay. Whether we receive support within our family or not, it is vital that we seek some type of support, through friendships or support groups. 

Be the example.

Do you suffer from a mental health issue? Do you take medication? Do you go to therapy? Living without shame and using your experiences to offer insight and a different perspective in conversations with folks is key to normalizing this subject within our families. Own your experiences, so they become the shining light for others struggling to find their voice. Showing them that you can thrive with your condition is the best type of education we can provide to our families.

To check out Your Story to Tell Academy’s Instagram go here.

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Women Are Sharing Why Gut Instincts Made Them Turn Down A Dream Job

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Women Are Sharing Why Gut Instincts Made Them Turn Down A Dream Job

FPG / Getty

We’re all familiar with the phrase “trust your gut.” Of course, while the ability to suss out a situation based on instinct might not always lead us down the easiest path, for the most part, many people believe that relying on our gut can help us get through even the hardest life experiences and oftentimes avoid them. In fact, according to research, the belief of trusting in one’s gut is upheld by over half of people living in the United States. But what about when your gut-instinct leads you away from something you might really want?

Recently, a post shared to Instagram about gut instinct caught our attention.

The post served as a reminder to us that its imperative to truly weigh what matters to you when considering a new job or promotion. Still, we couldn’t help but wonder what Latinas think. So we asked and got a whole heck of a lot of advice and answers.

Check them out below!

gverseukYessss! We need to be able to say no to a job with an organisation that we don’t think is right for us. However, this often isn’t an option for many of us, particularly womxn. 😩2d8 likesReply

meeze_82This is goals for me. To get my girls to where they can decline jobs offers becuase they’re smart and strong enough to know they can do better. 👏1d3 likesReply

theresalwayzplanzI took a job that paid more money but i didnt know what the work environment would be like. It was awesome making more money, but it was the first time i felt my mental health be in danger. I left. It was the best thing i did.1d2 likesReply

bellabelicenaAbsolutely! Prioritizing your mental wellness always comes first.♥️2dReply

jojajessI declined a job offer 2 wks ago during an interview. It was so awkward, but I was NOT feeling it. I flat out told her that I needed my job to contribute as much to me as I do to it.

“I ignored my gut for a job with a really significant pay increase in an upper management position. I regretted my decision the first few days I was there, the company culture was horrible, and the work hours were horrendous (11 hour days were seen as “normal”, you weren’t seen as a hard worker / dedicated employee unless you put in 70 hours or more.)” – TrifectaLoser

“I met a gentleman who said he always walks with the boss through the office. If the workers change their demeanor, for example stop smiling and talking and start looking busy, he won’t work there. Your thing looks similar, see how the employees interact and maybe even ask.” reidmrdotcom

“I may be stuck in my ways, but I won’t even go for an interview if I’m going to struggle commuting there, never mind moving to a new city etc just to take the job. But that said, definitely trust your gut.” –johnbarrymore2013

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Temporary Quarantine Things We Want To Stick Around Even After The Pandemic Is Over

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Temporary Quarantine Things We Want To Stick Around Even After The Pandemic Is Over

Joe Raedle / Getty

Oh, quarantine. The not so sweet but absolutely necessary measure we all must take during the pandemic to stay healthy and alive. Sounds pretty drastic and dramatic but fortunately, the time in self-isolation means that we’ve experienced some pretty fantastically dramatic switch-ups. From work from home days to on the go cocktails, for many of us, there’s a lot to like about quarantine measures.

Recently, we asked our FIERCE readers what they’d like to hold onto about quarantine when it’s all over.

Check out the answers below!

“Not paying rent.” – yungkundalini

“Masks when you are sick.” – glam_dam

“Supporting small businesses! I can’t stress enough how many people have suddenly started coming out to keep their local businesses and mom and pop shops running. This should be a thing whether there is a pandemic or not! Keep your community strong, protect your local elotero, and give the big corporations a run for their money!!!” – itslinamarie

“Ppl staying 6ft away from me.” – _mrssuave__

“Flex working. No longer an excuse that employees must be in the office.” – mixtapemcgee

Cocktails to go.

“Curbside pickup being regularly available.” –melchini

“All of it!! I feel at peace with people not getting close, knowing mugrosos are washing their hands and being covered in sanitizer, not crowding restaurants and spaces, supporting small businesses, I just feel like so much greatness has come from this but maybe I’m just a glass half full person.” –pinatapink

Work from home options.

“To go cocktails.” –elizar

“Work from home at least 2-5 days/week.” – m_lc88

“Prioritizing wellbeing over work.” –srios21

“Not paying student loans.” – senoritasenorita_

“I wouldn’t mind wearing a mask forever, especially during flu season. But mostly because it hides my RBF really nicely.”- mellowpaloma

“Washing your hands.” – mbhearts20

Giving people space.

“6 ft apart rule should never leave! Especially those don’t know about personal space.” –artkidshirley

“Masks if you are sick or utilizing public transportation or crowded places. I lived in South Korea and I like how normalized it is there to wear it in public places. I think this will help most of us stay away from other people’s kuddies when we are out and about.
Definitely wearing it in the airplane. More often than not I get some sort of cold after traveling.” – haveacupofjohanny

“No middle seats on airplanes.” –lcamargo.g

“More patio dining and employers not discouraging sick days.” – carolcontra

Virtual doctor appointments.

“Virtual telehealth appointments.” –fiona_theresita

“Pretty much all of the above as well as the grocery workers cleaning the carts and handing them to you as you walk up. I LOVE THAT. I hope that stays forever!” –lindafairall

“Hand sanitizer every where!” –jeann0m0

“Spending time at home with your loved ones.” –queenmetal

“Drive by parties … drop a present pick up a plate. A gift from god for the antisocial socialites.” –bobbibrittani

“Some of the cleaning guidelines that probably should have been in place to begin with.” –julezz__o9

“More outside space at restaurants and bars, to go drinks, and 6ft apart 💯 ! Readily available hand sanitizers is chill too.” –pietrememories

Hand washing.

“Frequent washing of hands… because I have no idea what these cochinos were doing prior to this.”- xippallipina

“Cleaning items you just bought before putting them away.” –lia028_ava

“Staying home when ill. Rest. Ppl not crowding my space. Strange men not speaking to me.” –ayequemuchacha

No interest on student loans.

“No interest on student loans. I’ve been able to reduce my loan by so much without the interest!.” –bdlr_jp

“People giving me my personal spaces. Pls stay 6ft away from now on.” –natrdgez

“Working from home and people not shaking my hand lol I’ve always hated shaking hands.” –victorria_p

“People being grateful for their family, health, and what they have around them in this moment!” – liv3.so.angie

Masks.

“Masks when people are sick.” –tricia.adriii

“Masked food handlers and when your sick.” –fancyfaceaz

“People actually washing their hands.” –marilynscarlet

“The checkout line social distancing system! Not having a creep breathe down your neck in line is amazing.” –susanabenavidezkoppelman

“To go drinks at restaurants.” –lizbit3

Alone time.

“Solitude.” – zoiladarton

“Contactless delivery and curbside pickup.” – fiona_theresita

“Masks!!” –jazzberrykush

“Supporting small business, drive by parties, cocktails to go, personal space.” – oclucylu

“Sanitizers and masks.” –bethanias.gonzalez

“Hazard pay for jobs that ARE hazard pay everyday! PAID sick time off these companies ain’t shit tbh.” –gvbelladonna89

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