Minority Mental Health Advocate: Esmé Wang
"I got started because I realized that if I didn't start being open about mental illness, I never would." -Esmé
Tell us about the work you do and how you got started.
I am a writer of novels and essays, including The Border of Paradise and a forthcoming essay collection about schizophrenia, called The Collected Schizophrenias. I also run an online business called The Unexpected Shape, which is for ambitious people living with limitations.
I got started because I realized that if I didn't start being open about mental illness, I never would. There would never be an ideal time. And so all of this works its way into the work that I do.
Why does minority mental health matter to you?
As my immigrant, Taiwanese mother told me, "We don't talk about these things." Minority mental health matters to me not only because minority communities often stay quiet about such topics, but also because minority communities often experience traumas that are specific to their communities and that impact mental health.
What would you tell your younger self?
Having schizoaffective disorder, generalized anxiety, and PTSD is no simple thing. It will complicate your life and add a bounty of suffering. However, always remember to advocate for yourself. Without self-advocacy, you will continue to see the wrong doctors and take the wrong medications.