Why are we so afraid to address mental illness in the black community?
I am so disheartened with the way people with mental illness are perceived. The label crazy is like a one size fits all to anyone and everyone that has mental issues.
I do not understand why ‘us” the African American community still find it so hard to face the fact that mental illness is a thing.
It is not the devil taking over someone’s mind but an actual illness that impacts the brain like any other ailment that impacts the body.
I was facing a lot this past year , anxiety and depression , it was very much overwhelming and what I heard was “ you have to pray” “you cannot let the enemy get in your head”. As those words flew from people lips I was screaming in my own head, I have prayed, and prayed. I have screamed and prayed, I have fallen to my knees and prayed. I have prayed until snot dripped onto my chin, I have prayed until my eyes were red, and I got up still feeling the same way. I have chanted, I have meditated and I was still anxious and sad.
I needed more than prayer, I needed help but I was afraid because I did not want to seem weak. I was embarrassed. I did not want to be looked down upon as if I could not handle something as simple as depression and anxiety. Even though, it is not simple at all.
I did not feel comfortable with telling many people my current mind state but then I became angry because I felt like , why am I hiding?
Why do I feel ashamed?
I then realized why I felt ashamed, because in the black community , I am not saying it is only the black community that has issues with facing mental illness but it is the only community that I am around majority of the time, we are not into psychologist, psychiatrist, into meds.. we still feel like a chemical imbalanced mind is a mind taken over by the devil, by demons.
Many of us hide our issues because we do not want to hear dismissive statements that do not help but hurt. When someone tell you -you have to be strong, it’s like telling a person that is drowning, oh ,you just have to swim. You feel like screaming W.T.F ! Depression, anxiety, bi polar disorder, schizophrenia , de-realization, is not for the weak. It has to do with chemicals in your brain, neurotransmitters that can up your serotonin or lower , it can up your dopamine or lower , there is more information on this and I will put in a link to understand how different illnesses is a physical thing. It is a chemical imbalance.
I am not saying it just develops out of no where , there are many reasons why mental illness occur , it can be hereditary, environmental, the foods you eat, tragic events, childhood trauma…
There was an article written and posted on this website , http://mentalhealth.fitness/learn-about-your-diagnosis/depression/ it stated;
Depression is more than just feeling “down.” It is a serious illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Research tells us that other factors contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical conditions, stress, grief or difficult life circumstances.
We have to realize that 1 and 4 people will deal with some type of mental issue in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. ( this information was provided by www.who.int)
Many children face mental illness actually “Mental health disorders are the most common diseases of childhood. Of the 74.5 million children in the United States, an estimated 17.1 million have or have had a psychiatric disorder1 — more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. This was reported by https://childmind.org
There is so much data out there and I believe the more we learn the more we can look out for signs and symptoms in our children, our siblings, our friends , our family etc.
Also the more you learn about the different mental illness the more compassionate you may become towards people who may seem sad all the time, or talk to themselves, or always have to wash their hands fifty million times , or have to line up food a certain way or never want to leave the house , or see things that you may not see. If you gain some knowledge on some of the mental issues people may face “we” the black community may not look at is being taboo.
Maybe we can help that mother who seems like she just don’t want to be bothered but instead she is going through post partum psychosis , maybe if we see a child screaming and acting out , we will not just say, he/she need his/her ass whooped and realize he/she may have a mental issue that needs to be addressed.
We need to take the negative stigma out of seeking help and also out of taking prescribed medicine because they may save you or the person that you love. Suicide is not done by weak people its done by hopeless people, people who feel like they have no way out of the darkness.
Please if you get nothing else out of this post , please just remember this…if you are a sufferer of any type of mental illness do not be ashamed. Seek help if you feel like you do not feel right, talk to people even if you feel uncomfortable , someone eventually will lead you in the right direction.
One more thing if you feel like all hope is gone , please be patient and hold on!
If you feel suicidal I have provided hotline numbers and websites address below.
suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org 📞 800-273-TALK (8255) 📞 TTY: 800-799-4TTY (4889)
Asian American Suicide Prevention and Education http://www.aaspe.net 📞 877-990-8585 (Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Fujianese)
Boys Town Suicide and Crisis Line (for teens/parents/families) http://www.boystown.org/national-hotline 📞 800-448-3000 Text, Chat Email: http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/ways-to-get-help.aspx
IMAlive Crisis Chat https://www.imalive.org
Vet2Vet Veterans Crisis Hotline http://www.yourlifecounts.org/crisis-line/vet2vet-veteran%E2%80%99s-crisis-line 📞 1-877-VET-2-VET (838-2838)