By Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, MSS, LSWDid you ever say, "My brain works differently than yours," to your parents? I remember saying those words to my adoptive parents, on more than one occasion. I tried to get my meek and long-suffering mother to understand my bold boisterousness. I tried to ease the frustration of my mathematically-gifted father as he pinched the bridge of his nose during one of our many late-night homework sessions. I went into mental health work in large part to prove that there is more than one way to understand people. Even, to prove to myself that there were legitimate ways to understand me.
I thudded the table YES when Ms. Brittanie N. Floyd responded to my interview questions mentioning a similar struggle. "As a child, any attempt to explain to my parents that my brain just worked differently and that I was trying was met with resistance and disbelief, she said. “Brittanie, we know you are smart” they would say. “You just need to apply yourself, try harder.” Brittanie told me this story as a part of describing what inspired her to become a psychiatrist.
Prior to this interview, please imagine my excitement, nay ... my outright fangirling ... when one of my good friends told me that, Brittanie, her adoptee bestie was about to become a psychiatrist. Living in a health care and mental health desert, I find it a challenge to find a good psychiatrist for my child clients. Despite all of the connections I have in the adoptee community, I have never met a black female adoptee psychiatrist. I am all too abundantly aware of the barriers that keep black women out of medicine. "Oh god Angela, please, please connect me to her. Tell me it's not weird that I need to know this woman."