I have struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. Even as a little kid in kindergarten panic would take over and I’d run out of the cafeteria in a panic, scared of the noise and the people. It only got worse with age and constant bullying. By the age of ten, I was fully addicted to self-harm and by thirteen I was suicidal and fighting a full-blown eating disorder. Before we continue let me tell you who I am today. My name is Takoda. I’m a 25-year-old trans man from Florida with a long list of diagnoses that wreak havoc on my life day to day. From borderline personality disorder to bipolar to schizoaffective disorder my life is a revolving door of psych wards and antipsychotics. Fighting to just get through my day is enough for anyone but the real battle comes in when it comes to getting help for my mental illness. There are no resources and the two places that do see psych patients are burnt out, underpaid and short-staffed. In your crisis, you can fully expect to be met with a lack of empathy and disrespect if you live down here. You can expect the pharmacy to have your meds late and for doctors to never take you seriously. You can look forward to comments like “I don’t get paid to care” and “the least you can do is kill yourself respectfully.” Down here you can be suicidal and still they will call you attention-seeking and send you home. Down here even paying someone to care doesn’t get you help.

I was told my whole life that every life has meaning and purpose I was told that no matter where you come from or what if you are rich or poor you are worthy. So if you’re reading this and you work in mental health down here…Let me just ask you to treat every life you meet like a life that has value and purpose. Treat that life like it has worth cause you never know what life holds it may be you that needs help in the future.