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What is mental health?
Mental health can be partially defined as a state of psychological wellbeing.
You're not completely healthy unless you're physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally healthy.
As a black folk, we have gone through the most, from before the slavery era up until today. Why then is it that it is only a small percentage of us going to therapy? Why are we so afraid of sitting down and analysing our emotional and mental health?
Well, we, as a black community never really had that time to analyse our emotions. We were always expected to be our best at all times, despite our emotions. We are expected to survive anything that requires us to use our strength. In the process, however, we continue to fail ourselves. If you’re depressed, people end up asking you “why are you depressed?” or “why are you so moody?” Some end up saying, “you have started again.”
People do not understand just how damaging their behaviour or attitude can be towards us. Depression is taboo in the black community. You just cannot be depressed. What will people think? What is worse is that it is usually our parents and our closest people that ask us such.
However, who cares what people think? This New Year, it’s time to stop caring about what people will say, because the truth is, people will never stop talking and people will never stop judging, even if there is nothing to talk about or to judge. If you do things based on how people will react, you will live a very difficult life. You will not be free. In the end, you will end up isolating yourself, even from people who really care—all because in the beginning, you cared too much about people’s opinions and ended up feeling like no one understood you and no one could be there for you, even if you had those one or two people that genuinely cared.
The media finds strength in dividing us as a black community. Why are we letting it work? Why are we letting them win? We fought so hard to get out of physical slavery. When will we finally break free from emotional slavery?
Our black men are thought of as weak or “not manly enough” when they show any level of emotion, and then we are surprised when they become temperamental or are unable to open up and communicate their feelings. We need to start opening our eyes and stop being judgmental if a man decides to shed a tear every now and then. We need to stop viewing our men as weak if they are unable to solve a problem, or if they are unable to deal with a situation. That is not weakness, that is strength, and we should encourage it.
Suicide has become ever so high. Depression is starting to become normal, but we are still afraid of therapy. We are still afraid of speaking about our emotions and finding better ways to deal with how we feel. We are still afraid to heal. We need to do better this 2019. We need to take better care of ourselves.
If you're stressed out about school, or life in general, and are finding it difficult to cope, make an appointment and just speak up. See how much better you will feel after that.
This year, going forward, stop caring about how people view you if you go to therapy. You're not crazy. You are trying to get healthier. Think of it as if you're going to gym, just this time it's not a physical gym but a mental one.
It's a New Year and we need to keep doing better. Take care of yourself and put your emotions on a treadmill. You'll thank me later.