“We Need to Share Our Stories”

Meet Lavi, a Clinical Mental Health Counselor from #Chicago. She believes in providing hope, creating art, loving her beloveds, and the magic of pizza and mango lassi. Lavi is on a mission to #endthestigma around #mentalillnessand inspire others to share their stories.

Here’s her story: “I am a South Asian-American who was born and raised in Chicago, and I have mental illnesses. The most prominent ones are #anxietyand #depression and the various accompanying symptoms, but I have also had an eating disorder, a sleep disorder, and have been in an emotionally abusive relationship. I believe my mental illnesses began when I was 10 years old, but I was not diagnosed and did not seek help until 12 years later.

As one would expect since my parents are from #India, education and excellence were emphasized in my family. I was also taught to keep my head down and not share private information outside of the family. For these reasons and for not wanting to create any problems for others, I tried my hardest not to allow anyone to see me suffering, even my family. 
I tried to ignore all of it. It was a grueling time in my life when I tried to be okay on the outside and suffer in silence on the inside. Needless to say, this plan did not work well. My symptoms kept showing up as panic attacks, faintings, acid reflux, crying spells, restricting food, binging on food, meticulous organization, and so many other things.

It got to the point where I could no longer hide my symptoms from my family. I had to ask for help because I could no longer physically function properly. Thankfully, my family understood what I was experiencing and encouraged me to seek help. It was a relief not to be judged by them, even if I still judged myself and feared the judgement of others, especially from the #SouthAsian community.”