#dontcallmecrazy, My name is Maquebeo

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My name is Maquebeo Manzo and I have the superpower of general anxiety. My journey to gain this power was not the greatest although, it has taught me to appreciate the smallest of things. So picture this as I paint the stage of what was my life.

Young, brown, poor and dysfunctional. Walking to and from school was an eye opening experience as I soon witnessed gang violence, horrible crimes, and violent behaviors. Not to mention, my household was full of toxicity and denial of emotions. Thus enters the condition of anxiety.

My parents displayed that not talking to each other yet living under the same roof was the manner to manage a relationship. Alcohol seemed to smooth out every situation and disrespectful engagement between the both only enhanced the reality that marriage was a joke. So full of themselves and treating me like a ghost, thus enters the condition of depression.

As a young Mexican-American child, it was embedded in me by the macho men in my family that boys don’t cry. They shake it off and move on, but never share your emotions for they will lessen you as the man that you will be. I had no space to understand my emotions and experiences. When I got older and was shot due to gang violence, I did not know how to process the shootings and fear, thus enter the condition of PTSD.

As a young adult, I decided to seek out aid by seeing a psychiatrist, which only opened up old wounds that made me feel worthless and at times even contemplate suicide. I suppressed my shameful emotions from the world by drinking alcohol and was a jerk to those around me that cared for my well being. I was in pain and I strived not to show what I felt, so I covered up my feelings by reacting violently so that no one else could get close to my heart. Little did I know at that time that I was repeating the same exact cycle that I had witnessed as a child both at home and in my community.

As my therapy continued, I was ultimately diagnosed with anxiety and placed on medications. It took years of digging deep into my ugliest parts of who I was in order to understand. My family members continued to tell me not to worry and to pray to God to help me. I don’t address my condition as an illness because that in itself can make a person feel unworthy and labels can damage our self esteem, as if something was wrong with us.

I use my condition to enlighten my family members as well as the community that I work in. I strive to represent myself as a survivor of trauma and openly share the obstacles as well as the process it took for me to achieve my healthy goals. There is no shame in being in tune with your emotions and any condition does not make you any less.

#dontcallmecrazy. My name is Maquebeo and i have #anxiety, but it does not have me.

- Maquebeo Manzo, 2018