by SHERRELL VALDEZLOQUI
Nadean Barton was born in Jamaica and grew up in New York, where she enlisted in the U.S. Navy. She has traveled around the world and has received numerous awards. She is also a best-selling author.
Nadean’s self-discovery journey has been an up and downhill battle. Some days she has good days, and some days she has bad days, but most days are good. “I ultimately put my trust in God to guide me through it all. Even though my experience was not a pleasant one, I thank God every day for giving me a chance of life and turned my tragedy into triumph. I am happy and humbled in sharing my story, and hopefully, it will help someone in the future.”
Sharing her story and letting the world know that she is vulnerable and is not afraid anymore is what Nadean is currently passionate about. She is using her voice and is no longer allowing the mental illness stigma to keep her silent. Mental illness was not talked about during Nadean’s childhood. “Looking back, I cannot remember a time where we talked about mental illness, the impact it has on others, and the treatment in helping others if they had it. Some of my family may have had mental health issues, who knows, because that was never a topic in conversations.” The stigma around mental health is still an issue in our society. Because of this, many do not seek help, and they suffer in silence. Nadean tells me that she worked hard every day to fight her emotions and not let the stigma and shame impact her life. “I have to STOP the stigma on mental illness and let people know it is ok to seek help. I used to be that person who hides behind my emotion. I used to care what people thought about me all the time.” Nadean no longer suppresses her emotions anymore, and she is not ashamed to let the world know that she sought out treatment so that she can be a better version of herself. “My mental illness does not define me, and it is ok to be emotional. If I want to cry, I will cry. People have to understand that we were born with emotions. No stigma, no shame, no suicide.”
There is No Health Without Mental Health Anthology
Nadean shares her story in “There Is No Health Without Mental Health” anthology, where she is a co-author. The best seller is filled with the voices behind Mental Health who share their stories to impact and impart NO MORE STIGMA, SILENCE, SHAME, AND SUICIDE! Venessa Abrams is the visionary for this bestseller. Nadean’s chapter is a reminder and a reflection of her journey. “I am tearing up now just thinking about it. As many times that I have thought about it, played it back in my head, there was nothing I could have done in losing my baby. It was inevitable. God knows what he was doing. My only option was to let it help shape me to become the strong woman I am today.” Nadean participated in the anthology because she wanted people to hear her story and touch their lives. “It took a lot out of me to share my story. I wanted to die. I wanted people to know that it was not the end of the road for me but just the beginning. I have a purpose; God had a plan for me. I was tired of living with shame, I wanted to be vulnerable, and I wanted to use my pain to fuel my purpose.” Nadean wants readers who read her chapter in the book to know that, if they have experienced any mental illnesses, it is NOT their fault. “They are not alone, they are special, they are worthy, and there are plenty of resources out there to help them. Seek help and be vulnerable because their story can touch someone else.”
Nadean shares that mental health is flawed. “Nobody wants it. Millions still suffer in silence. They are afraid to speak out in fear of being stigmatized. It could be a neighbor, friend, mother, father, or pet. No one is immune to mental illness. You are allowed to cry, get angry, and hide away sometimes, but you are not allowed to give up the fight. I have realized that the best way to free yourself and raise awareness and break the stigma is by speaking out and being vulnerable. Put your trust in God for he hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.”