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Illustration: Christie Shen.

About this piece

From my personal experience as a Chinese-Canadian, I find that mental illness and mental health are issues rarely (if ever) discussed in Chinese and East Asian households. It continues to be considered a non-serious issue and taboo subject, resulting in its highly stigmatized state.

This piece is a study of the impact of culture, family, and heritage on the way I approach and experience my mental health and identity. I have grown up believing in the mentality of “I’ll get over it,” and this thought process is one I still work to beat.

There is a tension between my Eastern identity and the influence of my cultural upbringing, growing up in a Western environment. I wish to be able to communicate with my family regarding mental health, yet I’m still unable to overcome the uncomfortableness that has been ingrained and taught.