“Another Autumn” by Troix Jackson

Troix is another one of my posters this year who has consistently come back and wrote incredible posts for Shattering Stigmas, and for that I am so thankful. I love this powerful post that Troix has written for this year’s event and am so honored to be able to share it here. You can find Troix online on Twitter or her website.

When I was little, every autumn I would stuff leaves from the trees outside my house into my coat. I loved the bright red ones best, and I would try to keep them intact, alongside the thumb-sized acorns that used to knock against the roof of our family’s car when they fell. I’d stash them all inside, my weird little collection, in an end table drawer that my mom didn’t look in often. I loved their smell, and their color, and the delicate way I had to hold them in a concerted effort to keep them from breaking. But, inevitably, every autumn, one day I would pull the drawer open and see that my collection had withered and browned and cracked into dust.

Every year that I’ve written a post for Shattering Stigmas, I go into my process expecting it to have gotten easier. I think that, surely, by this time next year I’ll be better at coalescing words into something passable. I think that I will definitely be in a better frame of mind.

I have other drafts than this. There are drafts where I talk about how I’ve been raised on resilience, and how that resilience has led to a specific mindset in relation to my mental health. Drafts where I try to push out the pockets of joy I’ve had in the past year to share them. Drafts where I try to bring forward the absolute horror, and fear, and blinding rage I’ve felt in these nearly twelve months.

But. The truth is that I’m tired. I’ve always been against the idea of portraying my own mental health as a form of positive advocacy because I’m not very positive, and I’m not a very good advocate. So I’ll talk plainly. My depression is not, as I’ve said before, drowned out by a cup of tea in a bright ceramic mug, or detoxed by a face mask and a long bath. My depression is constant, exhausting, and pushes my emotions to their limits—forcing me to feel the incredible depths of sadness and anger, hand in hand, repeatedly.

The truth is that every time I hear a knock at my door, I cry a little. Every time I unlock my phone I expect the sudden, sharp despair of seeing another person who looks like my brother, my sister, my nephews and nieces, brutalized. I see them in them, hear their voices in calls for help, think of the pictures they’d pull to make obituary segments on the news. There is no cure for that. No fun social graphic I can pull together to market myself to others, no tips for breathing exercises I can type out that feel just.

I am tired and I am scared, and my depression is in, surprisingly, full swing. I go days without sleeping, eating, brushing my hair. It’s a familiar waltz, sure, but one that leaves me tired at the end without fail.

But this is depression. And no amount of positive thinking will change that. All I can do is what I’ve learned how—continue to drag myself, kicking and screaming if I have to, from one year to the next. Because I am still alive, and so many aren’t.

2014-2020

Marcellis Stinnette
Jonathan Dwayne Price
Dijon Durand Kizzee
David McAtee
George Perry Floyd
Dreasjon “Sean” Reed
Michael Brent Charles Ramos
Breonna Taylor
Manuel “Mannie” Elijah Ellis
William Howard Green
Daniel T. Prude
Tony McDade
Carlos Carson
Rayshard Brooks
Atatiana Koquice Jefferson
Javier Ambler
Sterling Lapree Higgins
Ronald Greene
Elijah McClain
John Elliot Neville
Emantic “EJ” Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.
Charles “Chop” Roundtree Jr.
Chinedu Okobi
Botham Shem Jean
Antwon Rose Jr.
Saheed Vassell
Stephon Alonzo Clark
Anton Black
Aaron Bailey
Charleena Chavon Lyles
Fetus of Charleena Chavon Lyles
Jordan Edwards
Chad Robertson
Aaron Bailey
Bijan Ghaisar
Dennis Plowden
Deborah Danner
Alfred Olango
Terence Crutcher
Terrence LeDell Sterling
Korryn Gaines
Joseph Curtis Mann
Philando Castile
Alton Sterling
Bettie “Betty Boo” Jones
Quintonio LeGrier
Corey Lamar Jones
Jamar O’Neal Clark
Jeremy “Bam Bam” McDole
India Kager
Samuel Vincent DuBose
Sandra Bland
Brendon K. Glenn
Freddie Carlos Gray Jr.
Walter Lamar Scott
Eric Courtney Harris
Phillip Gregory White
Mya Shawatza Hall
Meagan Hockaday
Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr.
Janisha Fonville
Natasha McKenna
Jerame C. Reid
Rumain Brisbon
Tamir Rice
Akai Kareem Gurley
Tanisha N. Anderson
Dante Parker
Ezell Ford
Michael Brown Jr.
John Crawford III
Eric Garner
Dontre Hamilton
Victor White III
Gabriella Monique Nevarez
Yvette Smith
McKenzie J. Cochran
Jordan Baker
Tyree Woodson

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