I just wish someone had been open and talked to me about it.

Meet Noemi.

I am an elementary school teacher who misses my kids so much! I think now, with the pandemic, we just feel so disconnected. I am excited and a little nervous as to how we will reconnect with ourselves and others. I have struggled with depression since my teens, and COVID-19 has really challenged my ability to keep it in check. But talking about it really helps.

A lot of us don’t want to work on ourselves. It means opening up those closets and getting into tough stuff for a while.

I feel depressed —and guilty at the  same time. I was born in the Philippines and came to the U.S. when I was four. It is the typical immigrant family story — leave everything you know so you can start over. When I got to be a teenager, I started feeling, you know, just so many things, maybe depression. Who knew at that time? But I remember in college when I tried to talk to my mom about it and instantly felt shame.

I remember my mom saying, “What do you have to be depressed about? We left the Philippines to give you a better life.”

It devalued what I was feeling. I just wish someone had been open and talked to me about it. You know, made it OK to talk about it, I guess it takes having people to talk to – to not be afraid. It is OK to have these not-so-perfect days. To know that you’re not the only one. Letting others know that they’re not the only one, I think is another thing we need to work on as well, to be brave and say, I appreciate you, thank you for being here. And I am here to listen.

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