There is nothing wrong with black people. We are all the most perfect shade of human on this planet and we don’t deal with mental health or depression because that’s just not a “black thing.” Not to mention we are all covered in the blood of Jesus so, you know, we don’t deal with those kinds of issues. This is basically the narrative that I have heard my entire life from the black community. It has always bothered me because I have dealt with a family member that had mental health issues but no one in my family believed that it was a problem, or that they should try to intervene, even when that person threatened suicide.
No matter what color you are if you live on this earth you have dealt with some form of depression, anxiety, or just plain not feeling your best mentally. You are not alone. I do understand where the notion that black people don’t deal with these kinds of issues come from. We have always had to be strong, especially in the face of adversity. We are a race of people that have always had to fight and put on a smile while society seemed to be going against us. We have always had to try to maintain the appearance of perfection, and mental health, well, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Religion is such an important part of the black community (maybe I’ll blog about why I let go of christianity in the future). I mean I have been to the hood and right across the street from the housing projects is a mansion of a church. If you grew up in the typical black house hold, you were always told to take your problems to the lord in prayer. There was never really a safe space where you could open up about what you were facing. Homosexuality, physical, sexual, and mental abuse, or depression are all topics considered taboo in black families. I can’t help but think that it’s only because that would force families to realize that we are not perfect.
So what do we do? If we come from families that don’t allow us to express ourselves how do we deal with the pain and suffering of this human experience? We create our own communities and spaces of openness. It is important that we pick and choose wisely the things that we want to take from our upbringing. We were given this specific group of humans to help better aid us in our life journey. Sometimes they even help us by showing us what NOT to do. If there are certain things from your childhood that you wish you had more of, be the giver of that very thing you believed you were missing. So if we feel that there was a lack of openness and understanding in black homes, we should provide others with that openness and understanding.
This is why I created this blog, because all it takes is for one person to open up about their experiences and others will feel safe to do the same.