asha international mental health

We Give Hope

Jennifer Yamashiro

Jennifer Yamashiro

We don’t have to walk this road alone.

Things are not always what they seem.

Jennifer Yamashiro was always drawn to community service.  She grew up with a single mother and had a passion for helping others.  But, nobody knew that she struggled with depression throughout her life.  She didn’t want to burden those around her.  She thought that it was how things were supposed to be. Then, Jennifer was given the opportunity to play the role of Diana in the musical “Next to Normal.”  The story centers on Diana, a suburban mother dealing with manic depression, and the effect her illness as well as her treatments have on her family. The story is told with great humor, and unflinching honesty.  It is a story about love and family, about holding tight, and about letting go.  Jennifer, along with two of her castmates, were interviewed by a local newspaper about their own struggles with mental health and how being in the show helped them bring light to something that is so often left in the dark.  The article sparked new conversations with family and friends that helped inspire understanding and compassion.

Jennifer on Grit & Grace Storytelling Show

“After my husband left for work, I would get my kids ready for school.  Once everyone was gone, I would spend the day on the couch.  Unable to do anything.  I lost interest in the things I loved most.  I was directing a musical at our elementary school.  Acting as the PTO president and nobody knew.  I had become a master at hiding my bouts of depression.  A good friend figured out something was going on and talked to me about it.  I went on a low dose anti-depressant and slowly started to claw my way out.  I can recognize the warning signs and triggers now, but it’s often still a daily struggle.  I have an incredible group of friends and family who are there whenever I need them.  So many of us try to fight alone, we feel like we need to be “fine”.  But we don’t have to walk this road alone. ”

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