By Aimee Thielman
Have you ever woken up every morning to picturesque views of the ocean and islands in the distance? I have.
Thinking to yourself, I live in a place that most people dream of living in. Mainlanders yearn to get a glimpse but for Caribbean natives, this is everyday life.
I used to wake up basking in the sun’s warmth and star gazing at night.
And you’re probably wondering who is this person that bathes in sunlight and dances under the moonlight with the smell of the ocean gracing the air.
Hey, my name is Aimee and I’m one of those Caribbean natives that were kissed by the sunsets and watched over by the stars. I am from a small bit of paradise, on a map no bigger than a fly but it is a secret gem of the Caribbean. Probably wondering what island is so magical and alluring, it’s Saba. An island with about 2,000 people and a mountain with its peak being a dormant volcano. People always romanticize the Caribbean with its sandy white beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush nature. I lived that life for 18 years until I came to the U.S for my bachelor’s degree and only during big holidays I visited home. I became one of those mainlanders yearning for the salt breeze to grace my face, whilst admiring the surrounding islands.
I returned home and began working for an NGO until I made the decision to leave once again to the U.S to do my master’s degree in mental health counseling in 2017. Well, its 3 years later and I’m still yearning for my feet to feel the warmth of the sand and to stare out at those crystal clear waters.
Degree in hand I made a big decision, to establish the an online mental health counseling centre on the island. Oh, and I’m struggling. People are more than willing to praise you for your accomplishments but not seek services. It’s seen like a lunatic disease that once infected you are “crazy” and you are dooming yourself to an eternity of hardship if you admit you need help.
So, this is what I am tackling, making people realize that seeking help isn’t this awful experience rather it’s necessary and normal. This is my aspiration and I’m going to share this journey with you. I’ll tell you of the stigma, cultural reasons why some mental health issues can’t be considered an impairment, and my successes.
I invite you to join me on this journey and experience. InsideChats will provide you with an up-close and personal look into mental health in the Caribbean.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.
– Jim Watkins