Thursday, October 14, 2010
A Little Known Battle with Depression
Among Asian-American women, a little known battle with depression | Need to Know
I always find surprising to hear that many Asian-Americans still aren't aware that depression is a great issue for Asian-Americans. Honestly, are we to be surprise about the high number of Asian-Americans suffering from depression? This is not only an issue for Asian-American women but it is also a great issue for Asian men in this country. There are too many pressures with too little support when expectations aren't achieved or met. Most community would be happy to see their children getting in to college, which isn't the case in all Asian-American families. Getting into college is not the issue, but the issue is getting into the right college. The expectation is to get in to the top 20 colleges and universities in this country. But the high, and sometimes impossible, expectations are not merely set by our Asian communities, even colleges expect brilliance from Asian-Americans. It is not enough for Asian-Americans to have a 4.0 GPA with perfect or near perfect SAT scores. The top 5 universities in this country expect much more out of the Asian-American students.
Those pressures are constant. I have friends who are, in all measurements, in top 10 percent in grades but because they haven't got in the top 10 universities in this country, they are consider to be average and "average" is not acceptable in the Asian community - and this is also an issue in the work force for firms too have high expectations. In this reality, Asians are only truly Asians when they are brilliant and anything less is just unacceptable. So, honestly, how can Asian-American women and men not suffer from depression? Negative stereotypes are debilitating but so are positive - or perhaps, more accurate to say distorted - stereotypes. One of my best guy friend, he was this amazing artistic person. He had a great gift with seeing beauty through his camera and through painting on a large canvas. Math and science wasn't his strength and he did poorly in the SAT. The only place he could get in was a community college, a junior college, and an art institute. I believe he would have been an amazing artist. But the mockery and shame were too much and he felt into deep depression. We, his friend, tried to encourage him to seek help. But he never did, and one afternoon he decided to take his own life. This was a preventable tragedy. As an Asian woman, I know both the high and low expectations. In the end, Asian women suffer much more silently because this is another expectation set in by our Asian community.