Guest blog: Yolonda Kelsor Clay

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yolonda_clayI never wanted to talk about my own depression.  I have had depression since age 15 after my grandmother died.  I had lived with her and deeply missed her.  So much so, that I became suicidal.

Years passed, I graduated from college with a degree in Business Education and Speech Communication.  I got married and had my first child at age 25.  My relationship lasted 13 years, but my husband self-medicated and I had major depression.  I chose to leave the marriage.  I then married my daughter’s father. I had a bad fall at work injuring my back and pelvic area, my ankle and both wrists.  I had just given birth to my daughter 4 months prior.  I began to have panic attacks and serious depressive episodes numerous times.  Yet, I didn’t want anyone to really know what was wrong. Subsequently, my second marriage ended in divorce.

I had to retire from teaching in 2004 due to my physical condition.  It was extremely depressing and I experienced the death of my mother, both my in-laws, a sister-in-law from 1996-1999 then 2004.  Not only did I mourn the death of my mother, but my son became depressed and was diagnosed with ADHD and depression.  I am blessed to say, he is almost 26 and doing well.  His sister is now 17 and has been a Stigma Buster right beside me since the age of 12!  I met my husband Ralph who worked at Eastern State Hospital for over 19 years. We have been married for 3 years.

In the summer of 2006, five African American Women who belonged to NAMI Lexington got together and formed the Multicultural Action Committee—MAC DIVAS & DADIS.  We became the face and voice of recovery and hope to the African American Community in Central Kentucky.  Education helped me to get rid of the stigma that kept me from staying in treatment and I became free!  Depression no longer was my “ashes,” but instead my “beauty.”  To God be the glory; great things He has done!


--Yolonda Kelsor Clay

Watch Yolonda in an interview with ABC 36 news


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