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Wise Counsel Interview Transcript: An Interview with Yulonda Brown on Surviving Abuse and Bipolar

David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

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David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC, covering topics of mental health, wellness and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I'm a clinical psychologist and your host.

One of the things that we have hoped to do in this series from time to time is to get the psychotherapy client's perspective. We've interviewed a number of well known and highly respected therapist counselors and research academics representing a wide variety of theoretical perspectives.

To balance out the picture it's also important to hear from clients themselves about both the benefits they've received as well as the challenges and possible setback they faced in their therapeutic journey.

Today's interview is with Yulonda Brown, an African-American woman in St. Louis, Missouri, who has struggled with Bipolar Disorder, ADD, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Today she's in a much better place, describing herself as an author, publisher, mentor to young women of color and mental health activist. Now, let's listen to the interview.

Yolanda Brown, welcome to Wise Counsel.

Yolanda Brown: Hi. Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.

David: Well, I'm very pleased to have you here. You're an author. You're a publisher. You're a motivational speaker. You're an Internet radio personality. You're a mentor to young women in the African-American community. And you're a mental health activist.

But you're also someone who made all of those achievements on top of or in spite of, or maybe because of some of the issues that you had to deal with coming up, in terms of your own mental health issues.

Yolanda: Yeah, that's true. My childhood didn't really start off to be quite fairytalish, so to say. And I grew up... I had a mom, I had a dad, I had a grandmother, pretty much a complete circle; a really small, kind of like intimate family.

I didn't really know my cousins or deal with anyone outside that immediate circle. And it didn't bother me because, I mean, they were never around. I never saw them. I never really even knew them until late teen years, almost about 17 or 18.

David: And where was that? Where did you grow up?

Yolanda: In St. Louis.

David: OK.

Yolanda: Mm-hmm, in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a house divided if you ask me because my dad was a Baptist minister and my mom was just my mom, you know. It was kind of like living in a house with two different sides, you know; one would be heaven and the other would be hell.

And my mom was a woman of-who suffered from past mental issues, as well, and very unstable, very moods-aggressive and violent moods. It ended up being taken out on me even more so than my own brother. So, at the point-I think, as early as I can remember is being of five or 6-years old and remembering the infliction being brought upon me since then, up until I left home at the age of 21.

[cross talk]

David: Well, when you say... Oh, maybe you were about to go into that. When you say the infliction brought on you, I'm wondering what kinds of...?

Yolanda: It was verbal and physical abuse.

David: -huh.

Yolanda: Mm-hmm. And I think, the part that really tore me up the most was that my dad was a minister, a man of God. And here he is, supposed to be a man of his household. And it was sometimes where I felt like; you know he was a referee with a blind eye for justice.

And it's like, you come home, you see me, you know my eyes swollen or I'm missing hair out of my head. You look at me and you look at her and you say, "What happened?" and nothing's done about it.

Whereas versus women will be highly criticized for having a man in the household that beat or hit on their children or even molest their children, you know. It's a whole different scenario. But, when I look at it from my point of view it shouldn't be any different.

David: Right.

Yolanda: And something should have been done, you know to take me out of that environment.

David: Yeah, that's right.

Yolanda: And it wasn't. I mean, we seen Social Services and they would come. And when my mom knew they were coming, she would leave. You know, she would not be home. And, I mean, it was hell. It was hell until I left.

David: Yeah. So, your mom was really the abusive one and your dad was turning a blind eye to it.

Yolanda: Pretty much. Now, there was times when he caught her in action and of course, he would pull her off of me and them him and her would get into it. It was just, it was too much for me to handle as a child because one and I knew it was wrong. But, two, it was my mother, you know. So, children always love their parents, no matter what.

David: That's right.

Yolanda: And then I also had to deal with the outside factor that I saw how other families functioned. There was love and there was you know no yelling, no cursing. And I'm like, you know I want a piece of this, you know.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: And the only person who really kept me sound and kept me grounded was my grandmother. Because she would tell me, "You are not all the same." So, she says, "You are, you are better than that. You know you will be better than that and you will have success in your life."

And those were the words that I clung on to for all of my teen-you know, teen years and excelling in school and doing the best that I can to make sure that when I got to that age I could just leave and not turn my back and not have to go back home because, you know I need help or I didn't make it.

David: So, your grandmother really was the one who pulled you through, right, where you got some positive messages? That is so important, makes all the difference.

How did you do in school given all the trouble that was going on at home? Did that impact your performance at school?

Yolanda: My performance at school... I guess I really just targeted all my attention on to studying well and doing well so I could get out. It was like, study well, do well; get out. Study well, do well; get out.

You know, whether it been a scholarship to college, whether it been an opportunity to go to another state. I just had to stay focused. And plus staying focused on other things outside of my home life, that helped me. It helped me to excel. It helped me to cope.

But at the same time, my friendships or my relationships with other people on the outside-it was kind of funny because I would either be this really outspoken person who would speak up for everyone else in the world, but I couldn't speak up for myself at home. Or people would just take me as being too aggressive or too controlling and would not want to have anything to do with me.

David: Mm-hmm.

Yolanda: So, I could not understand that that was a backlash of how I was brought up and seeing my mom being the aggressor in the house and see her do the things that she did and get the things that she wants, you know just by being aggressive. A part of that sinked into my head which was not good for my relationships on the outside.

David: Well, of course, it's natural that you would kind of pick up on what you had experienced at home and that it would get incorporated to some degree in your personality and your actions. So, at what point did you begin to realize that this in fact had negatively affected your personality, was leading to some problems and cause you to reach out to some kind of help?

Yolanda: To be truthful, it was my husband, actually. I got married when I was 22. And it was my way of communicating.

And he was actually the first man. You know, I had had several relationships prior to my husband. I'd been dating on the scene. And most guys would just never call back or they would never come back around, or... It was like, what is going on?

You know, I think, I have a nice sense of humor. I'm funny. I'm cute. I'm outspoken. It's like, what's the problem? You know, and then I start summing it up. Well, they're just intimidated by me. You know, I'm going to college, I work, I have a nice job, da-da this, da-da that. And it wasn't that they just could not put up with my so-called behaviorism.

But my husband was the one that say, you know, "I think, you being up under that kind of pressure like that for so many years have messed up your communication issues. You don't communicate with me. You don't tell me this. You don't tell me that. And we can't make it like this."

David: That's interesting.

Yolanda: Yeah.

David: Usually in so many cases, it's the woman; you know who's kind of bringing that to the attention of a man.

Yolanda: Mm-hm. Mm-hmm. Our relationship is pretty much spent spun around, you know. It's just, when he threatened me--or, to me it felt like a threat because here it was the first guy who I bonded with, he bonded with me. We were great together. I and my husband got married within three months of knowing each other. And it's been going on twelve years.

David: Mm-hmm.

Yolanda: So, I know it's something. But, when he just started telling me about things that I would do and how I'd go about doing things. You know, just the lack of communication because I was so used to keeping things bottled up inside of me.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: You know? It was only the important things or the necessary things that I would get out. But, I could never really sit down and verbalize, tell someone how I felt. It was always taking to the pen and paper. That was my best way of expression.

David: -huh. So, how long ago was that, that he confronted you?

Yolanda: The first time was right before I first tried to commit suicide. And that was in '99. And he was just frustrated. We had just had a new baby and he was at home taking care of the children and I was out working because he had lost his job. So, at that time I was working two jobs.

And anytime that-my fear has always been water, bridges. For some reason, I always think a bridge is going to fall when I'm on it and that I'm going to drown. That's my worse fear in life, next to snakes.

David: Mm-hmm.

Yolanda: And for me to go take my car to that bridge and stand on the edge was just like, that was it. I mean, like that was my fear. Here I am getting ready to commit it. I'm getting ready to push it upon myself. It's not happening to me. I'm getting ready to do it.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: And it just so happened you know, a cop just came from out of nowhere. I didn't hear the car, I didn't hear the tracks. I didn't hear anything, you know? And that was pretty much, you know a savior for me. And just knowing I was broke at that point. I was weak.

I'd just had the baby only three, four months ago. I was breaking down. I was tired. And I was trying to be strong for everyone else and still try to uplift my husband and make him feel like a man because it's hard for a man when they lose their jobs. Because they feel they're the provider of the households.

David: Yes.

Yolanda: And that's their main focus, is to take care of their little kingdom or their little family. And it was just too much for me.

And the abuse, that fractured me. You know, it fractured my mind. And knowing that it happened to me more so than my brother-and in the end he began to become abusive to me.

But I looked at it as that was his mode of self-preservation. "Hey, I'm going to beat up on my sister with my mom so that my mom doesn't beat up or cuss at me." That was his mode of self-preservation and none of that came to pass or came to my eyesight until my brother had passed away, or was killed in a car wreck.

David: Mm-hmm.

Yolanda: So, it was a little bit of everything combined together from that night.

David: Yeah. So, that night when you were going to attempt suicide, was that sort of like hitting bottom for you? Was that the beginning...?

Yolanda: Pretty much. Pretty much because I always thought I was strong. And to me it's been taught in the Baptist-in the background is this, if you kill yourself you're going to hell. Because God gave you life and he's the only one that can take your life. So, you know, you do and act like that you're bound for hell.

And I just simply, just took myself and signed myself in into a mental facility. And my husband was very irate with me. He was very upset with me. And I was...

David: For going into the facility or for attempting suicide?

Yolanda: He's just-not just-just both. And not talking to him. And you know, wanting to-I think, it was not so much as being mad at me, but he was scared. He was frustrated. He didn't understand that. You know, he didn't come from a family of-how should I say-unstable people or unstable environments.

For the most, he came up pretty good. You know, he was a good kid. He grew up great and he had two other siblings that really weren't all that great. But, he ended up walking the fine line and turned out to be a success story.

But he was upset. He was scared and he didn't know how long they were going to keep me. And I could understand. He had all kinds of thoughts going through his mind and then he had the stigmas of what mental institution could be like.

David: Yes.

Yolanda: And he was like, 'You don't belong with those people. You don't belong in there." And at that point I felt like I did because if I wanted to take my own life, you know-and I got beautiful children. You know, I had a home. I had a car and it wasn't too much of anything else I outside that wasn't bad for me. I wasn't with my mom anymore. But, I had a lot of self-issues as well, down-you know. I was finally...

Mm-hmm. Go ahead.

David: Was it helpful for you then when you went into that some kind of mental health facility? What kind of help did you receive there?

Yolanda: The doctor came in late that night. And it was so funny because that doctor that came in actually... No one else made sense to me until he came in. Everything to me sounded scripted, it sounded like it was rehearsed over a million and one times. You know, this is just the procedure from A to Z.

And you know when he came in and he asked me questions. And then he listened to me and he didn't interrupt me and you know he asked me-I mean, it was, I guess the lack of, I mean, the complete confer-factor that he had.

And then this man, not to know me tell me, "You're smart. There's something about you." You know, 'You're talented." You know, "There's a lot that's going to happen for you and you don't need to go this way. You just need help. You need counseling and you need some medication." And he said, "I'm going to be honest with you. I will never lie to you and I will never do anything to you that are not necessary."

So, with that I began to, you know, feel some kind of ease and all of a sudden a desire for me to want to get better.

[cross talk]

David: Well, how wonderful that you met somebody who came across so genuinely and who offered help in that way.

Yolanda: Mm-hmm. Yeah, he's still my doctor today. And, I mean, I went to a couple of doctors as a teen, because, you know I had issues with my image. And of course, my looks-they're great. I thank God for that or genetics.

But growing up as a teenager, we're already going through puberty. We're already going through these things with our body changing. We'd have to deal with the in-crowd and who likes us and who doesn't like us.

And, I mean, it was times to where I would just stand in a mirror and I would cuss myself. I would cut my hair. And I would just not be happy regardless of what everyone else thinks. Oh, yeah, I just -she's cute. She's funny. I felt so much different.

David: Yes.

Yolanda: So different. So, I could relate to stars like Halle Berry and a couple of other beautiful women of the world. And to hear them say that they have confidence issues or they don't really think they're all that, you know. Halle Berry still shows some form of low confidence, to this day. And she's a beautiful woman.

David: Yes, she is.

Yolanda: She's done remarkable things. But, that woman is so honest and she will tell you she is not where she wants to be 100% mentally. And I can respect a woman like that.

David: Yeah, yeah. Now, at some point-and maybe this was fairly recently-you got diagnosed as dealing with Bipolar Disorder; is that right?

Yolanda: Bipolarism and ADD, yeah, in association with the already been clinically depressed. So, that really shocked me because it was on January 11, 2008. And I was already into researching on a book that I was working on. And when I started reading the signs and the symptoms, I was like, "I don't like that." You know, because it rang true to heart that that's me. You know, it was like...

David: So, you saw it... It wasn't-you weren't rejecting it because it was wrong, but rather because it seemed so right on and it wasn't acceptable to you.

Yolanda: Exactly. It was like, you know, I've done all of this in my life. I've done this, I've done that. I do this, I do that. You know, but when they started talking about the feelings of superiority and having this thing to where it's like I'm immortalized. No one can do anything to me; if I die today the world will go to hell. Or my family would just sink and drop.

I'm needed. I'm necessary. No one can do this but me. And it will be where I did have periods of days upon days upon days, no sleep or little sleep. And it was just like-it scared me more so than anything. I was getting ready to admit the whole bipolar chapter out of my book. I was just like forget it, you know?

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: Then I'm like, I see the ADD. And that comes with the racing thoughts and just not being able to just finish one thing and go to the next. All right, I felt like I had to have my hands on everything, you know. And I had to have my hands in something, you know.

And that became a nightmare especially with my company, especially with my home life. As far as the [sighs] bipolarism with the bad spending habits or the bad mismanaging the money... It took a toll on my company as well as my home life and my business partner and my husband's lack of luck.

Something, something's up. You know something's up. You've got to go back to the doctor. Then I heard my husband say, "Yeah, you've been tripping. You haven't been purchasing your medication for the depression. You haven't been staying on that." I just looked at him. I said, "It's something way beyond depression." It is. It's something, you know?

David: Yes.

Yolanda: And with that, I ended up going to my doctor. And he did the evaluation.

David: And he pretty much confirmed that the ADD and the bipolar was what were going on for you?

Yolanda: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

David: And put you on some medication; is that right? Or...

Yolanda: Yes they did. And I tell you, the combination of that medications--when I first started my meds, I start thinking back to why I had quit taking my medicine for my depression, because I didn't like the way it made me feel.

And he was like, "Well, you don't like that and it's not working. We've given it enough time to be into your system. And still, you still feel like its not working or it's not helping. We have to adjust your meds."

And one of the medications that he put me on was Lithium. And I was like, the word "Lithium" and the word "Bipolar" together, that sounds like hell, you know? All I could think about was just being zonked out and not being able to work.

And actually for the first three weeks, close to a month I was on the Lithium in combination with other medicines and I felt like I was on a cloud floating through hell. You know, I felt like I was barely making it through things.

David: Wow. Yes.

Yolanda: I didn't even know how I was working. Which I work in a laboratory, so my job is pretty much-it's repetition than anything. So, it's not something that's physically demanding of me.

And then I had co-workers who knew what was going on and was there to back me and support and help me. And I think, Oh, man. I just had to keep telling myself it's going to be better than this. I just have to get used to it.

And you know my husband wanted to make sure I take my medicine every day. He brought me pill bottles to keep everything arranged. I mean, he's helped me out a lot and my co-workers have.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: They all know what time I have to take my medicine. "Did you take your pills?"

[laughter]

Yolanda: And you know they're cool with it because they know I'm cool with it. Because I told everyone-I put it on my website. I put it out there. I don't care because I feel like this. I have been through so much hell in my life that if I can help someone from even sticking their toenail into hell, then I will be more than obliged to help them with my stories.

Because everything that I went through, it was-I felt like it was unnecessary. But, God said it was necessary for me to be where I'm at today; so, that I can't argue.

David: Yeah. And you've got a good support system there, it sounds like, between your husband and your co-workers. So, have the medicines kicked in to a place, or been adjusted to a place, where you're feeling more comfortable with it all, now?

Yolanda: Yeah, my meds-I had problems with the Lexapro, as well. So, I had to be taken off of the Lexapro and then he was giving me Wellbutrin. So, it's a combination of Seroquel, Lithium, Wellbutrin and-oh, wow. It's two more, Adderall and geez, it's something else... I don't know. I can't recall it right now.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: But I think, everything else as far as like my moods has gotten-I've had to increase my Lithium because, you know, I felt like that edginess was coming back. And I felt like, you know, my moods, they were-they started to shift again. And my doctor did do an increase and right now everything is fines.

David: Now, has there been any counseling along the way? You know, sort of sit down, and talk therapy kind of thing?

Yolanda: Yeah. Yeah, there was a therapist in my office that I go to. So, when I see him I go see a therapist, as well. I like to get everything done on the same day because of co-paying reasons, you know?

David: Yeah. I understand.

[laughter]

Yolanda: I don't want to have to co-pay you on Friday and then come back and co-pay her on Monday, you know?

And I think, you know, for me-I work fulltime and I do my business on the outside of that fulltime. But, I know how hard it can be because there were times where I was like, "Oh, my medicines is due again!"

I pay like 85 plus dollars, you know, every time I have to refill my scripts and its like, "God, here's that, here's that; that's a new bill." Then you have to pay for your co-pays and that's something else new.

And I'm blessed to have the insurance. I'm blessed to be able to use EAP, Employee Assistance Program, through my employer. But, I feel so bad for all other people that account for being diagnosed with something and not being able to control it because they can't afford the medication or the visits.

David: Yes, yes. Now, it seems like you've made the most of all of this because you are involved in outreach to other people.

You know, you mentioned stigma at one point. And people, you know, who are dealing with mental health issues often have to deal with the sense of stigma, either their own internal sense of it that we tend to acquire, or actual stigma that seems to come from outside this from the community.

And I'm wondering especially, you know how's that-you know, what's the status of that in terms of the African-American community in which you live? You're probably more familiar with, you know, what's going on there.

Yolanda: Well, you know, for me personally when I put that information on my website and then I went on to MySpace-because I have a lot of friends, so to say, or at least I thought. And I said I had a service announcement-a big announcement. And I don't know, maybe they thought I said I was being picked up by a major book dealer. Or maybe I had my own live FM radio show, or whatever.

But when they got to the website and they saw that I'd opened up. I talked about being diagnosed with Bipolar and ADD and suffering from depression. And now's like, "She crazy!" You know?

The friend-how should I say it? My relations with people ceased. It didn't slow down, they ceased. People did not call. And these are African-American people for the majority part. You know what I'm saying? And they did not call. You know, I could have cut my throat right after did that-put that announcement on my website-and no one would ever know.

David: Wow that sounds tough.

Yolanda: And I was like, you know what? I was like, this is messed up. You know, and when I did tell people face-to-face, you know about the bipolarism and stuff, they would like look at me and the really lock and roll their eyes on me to make sure, like I wasn't going to--Boo! Jump out on them or something.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: I'm like, "God!" I mean, what-you know, even me in the past, I think, the only word that is associated with mental illnesses that really raised my eyebrows was schizophrenic. You know? [laughs]

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: That to me was pretty much the king out of all of them. So, I did raise my eyebrows at that. But, it was never any fun made. I just thought you had to be careful, watch out for people who are schizophrenic because you didn't know what they were going to do. That was it. But, it was never think of making fun of someone or, you know just not disassociating myself with them.

I was grateful. OK, that announcement just showed me who my real friends were and who my real friends were not.

You know, I feel like if you're on the outside of this house, then I'm not going to worry about if you like me or not or if you care for me or not because on the inside of this house I have all the love and support that I need. So, it doesn't matter to me what the outside thinks. But, it did clean out my closet of friends, so to say.

David: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Yolanda: You know, and as far as with the African-American community-and I will be the first to say it-African-Americans are very uneducated when it comes to mental health issues. And the facts could be sitting right there, and I can give you a perfect example.

I had a book fare yesterday. And instead of me promoting my books and my works, I had all my other authors set up doing their things and watching out for them. But, I set up a NAMI booth.

David: And tell people what NAMI is--N-A-M-I.

Yolanda: -huh, National Alliance on Mental Illness.

David: OK.

Yolanda: And I was so shocked to see people come to my table, take the facts-I had a factual sheet in regards to the African-American community. And when they looked at, they were like, "Where did you get this from? Oh, black folks are always on the top-ten list of everything. AIDS, heart disease, obesity, da-da this, da-da that, crime..."

And I'm like, "Well, you know what? If that's where you're at, that's just where you deserve to be." You know?Educate yourself, take the time and take care of yourself physically and mentally and everything will work for you, you know.

Right now I'm a little upset the way you have all these get-fit, get-in-shape, you know, 50-million-pound challenge, you know. How about we do a 50-million mind challenge to help people with mental illnesses? You know, to do a mental assessment, you know.

And these are African-American radio stations that I hear. And I've been pleading out to them. And I've been calling out to them. And they have not responded.

David: Wow, my goodness.

Yolanda: They have not responded. You know? And that hurt.

David: Sure.

Yolanda: Because now I'm a part of the mental illness family. I'm in the community.

David: [laughs]

Yolanda: And so, you know what? I tell my doctor either Jesus said, "You're healed," or I'm going to be in that community for a very long time. So, you know, I have to know the statistics. I have to know the facts. I have to understand them.

And when this woman came to my booth, she picked up this sheet, she like, "Well, this is, this is, this is..." I say... And she said, 'Well, Native Americans are the ones. They are Number One." I say, "You know what, Sweetheart? They are. But, give me the percentage on Native Americans that are loved here in the world today." And she couldn't say anything.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: Oh, it's a very, very, very small number. It's small, it's recognized, and now we move on. Who's Number Two? We are. You know?

And come to find out, she was a naturalist. You know, so I know she represents the homeo-you know, patha, you know-the natural way, herbs and things of that sort. And I told her, I say, "You know what? If it was a flower or a weed or something that I could eat, smoke or chew to cure this bipolarism, Baby, I would have come to see you a long time ago."

David: [laughs]

Yolanda: I said, "But the only people that are getting me through this are Jesus, Lithium, my doctor and all my other medications." I said, "So, I don't want to hear what you have to say, Sweetie." I say, "Because I'm a far more better person than what I was before January of 11, 2008." I say, "I might have been on the other side of this table doing something not nice to you." And she just looked at me, you know?

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: And I said, "You tell me what weed or plant you got that's going to help me."

David: Yeah. Well...

Yolanda: You know? And she-it was, ooh!

[laughter]

David: What I hear is that there is there's a lot of resistance in the black community to mental health. It just hasn't been part of the cultural perspective, you know. It was always I think, kind of dealt with in the family and not something to talk about on the outside.

But, I hear that you have a lot of strength and passion for taking up this cause, sharing your experience and trying to help other people and bring other people along. And I think, one of the things that you... Am I right? That you've done some sort of public speaking in the high schools or something like that?

Yolanda: Mm-hmm, and working with these students here in Missouri. Our suicide rate for these teenagers...

Right at Easter time a young man who lived down the street from a friend of mine, he killed himself on Easter in his room. The whole family was there, everything was great. And my friend was down there at their house just celebrating. You know, everyone was just having a nice dinner. And they said, "Where's he at?"' And the next thing you know, Phew! A gunshot went off.

And my heart dropped into my stomach because I could not imagine being that mother or that father going into their child's room and just seeing a splatter of matter all over the wall and no form of explanation. You can't get an explanation at that point. He's gone.

David: Yeah.

Yolanda: He's gone. You know, so part of it is talking to the parents, too. You know, these parents need to get right back up in the kids' butts, keep an eye on them and let them know, "Hey, although I may be the enforcer, you know I can still take that hat off and we can sit down and we can talk about what's bothering you. You know, let me help you change the problem you have."

You know, and that doesn't go on. It just doesn't happen... It's just like Terrie Williams, the author said, who wrote the book "Black Pain," it just looks like we're not hurting.

Black people have, and I'm saying it, black people have the greatest skill of putting on a show or a fascade and it really not being what it is. They look rich but they drive home to a shack. You know? They dress like this but they don't have any money in the bank. You know?

So, it's a fascde. It's such a fascade from where she says, "It just looks like we're not hurting," because black has this certain kind of prideness. It's they have this afro-centric kind of, you know, stay up, stay, fight-the-power kind of thing-as though we're being oppressed continuously since slavery.

David: Yes.

Yolanda: You know, it's always a point to prove that always black and white and, you know... And it's not. It's not. They need to put the picks down. They need to put the fists down. They need to open the books and they need to open their minds.

Get inside, absorb it and if it applies to you, fix it. If it doesn't, it's just great that you know the facts. You know, because right now that's killing us. It's killing us as a race.

David: Yeah. Well, that's a strong message, Yulonda. And I want to thank you for being willing to speak your truth here on Wise Counsel. I want to encourage you to keep it up. Keep turning out the books and making those public appearances and doing your Internet radio show and putting that message out there.

Yolanda: OK, no problem at all. I appreciate you for having me.

[music]

David: I hope you are as impressed as I am by Yulonda Brown's courage and being so willing to put her story out to the world; to speak her truth and to do so with such energy, passion and creativity.

This is a woman who's come back from the brink of despair and has become an evangelist for mental health education and hope in her own community. If you'd like to find out more about Yulonda, she has a website at www.londab.com, that's L-O-N-D-A-B dot com.

She has another website for her publishing company which you'll find at www.aminiabooksandpublishing.com (no longer available has moved to: http://aminiabooks.webs.com/  (no longer available 8/25/14)  and that's spelled A-M-I-N-I-A- B-O-O-K-S- A-N-D-P-U-B-L-I-S-H-I-N-G dot com.


You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC.

Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.