Ashley Reid Opens Up About Healing From Depression In The Spotlight: “You Have To Be Brave Enough To Talk About It”

Ashley ReidBlackDoctor.org: How was it talking to your family and friends? Did you progressively start opening up about it?  

Ashley Reid: They progressively saw Ashley was going through something. I try to be as transparent as possible. At one point I was going through some things at home. There was this one time I wanted to go to the mall and the woman that was watching me said, “No Ashley we can’t go to the mall today.”  And I pulled a knife out on her. That’s when my parents were like, “OK, what’s wrong with Ashley?” That’s when I had to confess certain things that were happening to me in the house that they didn’t know about. There was a lot I was holding in and suppressing. I didn’t know how to get it out. So after that is when I started knowing that suppressing was bad, yet I still didn’t know how to let it out. It wasn’t until I was 21 years old when I told my mom I have a problem. She asked me what it was and I had no idea.  I didn’t know if it was drinking, emotional, I didn’t know, I just knew I had it. She didn’t know what to do either, but she immediately figured it out. She got on the phone and called other family members, friends and counselors. My mother asked me questions, “Ashley what do you feel like? Give mom incidents.” I decided to check myself into rehabilitation facility. When I went there I learned that some people are forced to go, whether its by law or family members admitting them. But there are fewer people who put themselves in the facility. That was my first time getting help. I don’t think we hit the right thing, but I had to say it, I had to get it out for anybody to even learn how to help me. My mother was an angel during the process.  She didn’t know how to help me either, but she did know by me saying something meant that I needed help.

BlackDoctor.org: You mentioned that doctors would say you were too pretty to be depressed, how did that feel?

Ashley Reid: Police officers, doctors, even people in AA meetings. It was ridiculous. How counterproductive ? I remember one time some police escorted me because I was flipping out. This female police officer told me to , “stop with those crocodile tears”. Now mind you, I was depressed. I’m not stupid. So l looked at her like, “Crocodile tears? You just told me my tears were fake.” I understand that in situations like this everyone might not know the right thing to say, but everybody should at least know the absolute wrong thing to say. If somebody says they need help, don’t tell them they’re faking it. If somebody is coming to you saying, “they’re going through it”, don’t say, “you’re too pretty to be going through that”  or “your family is so and so, what kind of problems do you have.” Like I always say depression doesn’t discriminate. It’s interesting because when my family started going on their journey with me and getting me back to healthier place they started understanding more. They saw that they had these traits as well. They felt like they could’ve gotten help. I started helping my family heal in other ways, too.

BlackDoctor.org: What does suicidal ideation feel like? What does it feel like to get to the point and say, “I feel like killing myself would be of service to everybody else?”

Ashley Reid: It all boils down to guilt. I don’t know what in me deals with guilt in that way. I have to stop myself to this day when I hear myself saying sorry too much. Or when I’m feeling too guilty about random things, like making a mistake. I don’t know what that is in me, but now I’m aware enough to tell myself that it’s ok.

You feel boxed in when you get to that place where your body feels here and your mind is there and it’s beating me up. You feel guilty about feeling so bad. You feel guilty about people taking care of you. It all boils down to guilt where you feel like a burden. And then you want it to be over. Now I think of how it would break my grandmother’s heart, how it would affect my mother’s whole life, my brothers, my dad. I started thinking about it in that way because I’m healthy. Nobody’s truly healthy, so I’m not going to claim that. Although, I do pray for it.

I just think that we all have mental health issues. Jack (a panelist)  says 1 out of every 5 people have mental health issues. I feel like it’s five out of five. We all have our things. When I was in that place where I wasn’t empowered to understand what was really going on it felt like I had to make it stop. I couldn’t get to the place where I could actually visualize the effect it would have on my family and friends.

It’s a very narcissistic thing in my opinion. Even if you don’t like yourself, it becomes so about you. I had to really go to school to learn how to develop healthier coping skills. I literally felt like I went to school for mental health. I wish that everybody could do it. Whether you have problems or not.

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