I can remember back in the day when it was shunned upon if you showed any sign of weakness. You could not express to your parents or friends that you were suffering from depression, bi-polar or some type of mental break down. No one wanted to hear it. It was always an excuse for that “crazy” uncle/aunt that illustrated any type of mental issues. They were even put in the back room or away from the rest of the family during the holidays because no one wanted to interact with them. And don’t you dare ask what’s wrong with Aunt Sally. The first thing Grandma would say is, “Ain’t nothing wrong with her!!! Ain’t nothing the good Lord can’t fix”. She ain’t trying to hear that!!!
But why is it such a horrible thing to really give Aunt Sally the help she needs? Why not take her to get evaluated, counseled, and/or medication that would assist her mental health? Why is it such a family disappointment that she is suffering from mental illness? Why can’t we have a discussion about this? Why isn’t anyone discussing the offspring that also exhibit certain traits from their mother? These questions definitely need answers. But no one wants to hear it.
I can admit that I did not realize that I actually had something wrong with me until I entered my early 30’s. I would have highs and lows that were so extreme, I didn’t know how to control it. I never wanted to discuss it with anyone because when I was raised in the 70’s and 80’s it was a topic that no one wanted to hear. It didn’t matter if a relative went away to war or had a breakdown; we could not discuss it openly. It had to be a family secret. That’s why I never felt the need to go to my parents or family to discuss my feelings. I damn sure didn’t want anyone to know that all the trials and tribulations I was going thru personally were breaking me down to the point I was considering suicide and didn’t want to get up in the morning. I decided to take my mental health into my own hands and seek professional counseling.
I found out thru extensive counseling and doctor’s appointments that I was suffering from depression. All these years I battled this and tried to find ways to cope on my own. I went to church because I recall the saying that so many people would say, “Black people don’t go to no counselors. God is the only one who can fix it” or “Ain’t nothing wrong with your ass. You need to fight it!! You’re stronger than that. Everybody always trying to get on some kind of medicine. Medicine is for them weak ass people”. Of course, the Lord and prayer didn’t fix it. Because I was so worried about what others would say or think; I went years suffering and fighting for peace of mind. I labeled myself “crazy” because I knew I was sad on the inside and saving face on the outside. I would shut out people for a long time because I didn’t know how to deal. Now I am a happier person that definitely do not feel the same I used to be!!! I really don’t care about what people think or say; therefore I make sure I am mentally at peace at all times.
If you or someone you know is going thru any of the listed situations, please seek counseling and medical assistance:
- always tired and not as motivated to do much including simple tasks
- get irritated with people and things for the simplest reason.
- get easily angered or crying a river.
- the mind is all over the place.
- sleep too much or too little
- loss of appetite
- isolation and uninterested in things
- don’t care how you look
- continuously forget things because your mind is racing
- You are numb. You don’t have any feelings
- thoughts of suicide or death
- false thoughts
Just because others may perceive it as a weakness, you make sure you are ok. Even when others aren’t trying to hear your cry for help; make sure the people who really matters can hear you now. Get the help you so desperately deserve.