MNR: The Extinction Agenda
“Yes God, I’m going insane. If you can feel my pain say yes (yes!). If you can feel my pain say stress (stress!)...”
Pharaohe Monch, “Stress” (Remix)
Mental health, especially in Black culture, is still somehow the proverbial elephant in the room that few Negroes are willing to discuss openly and without trepidation. How many times have you heard these statements in your time on this God forsaken earth? “Ain’t nothing wrong with him/her”. “He/she just need their ass kicked”. “Don’t say that out loud. Folk gon think you crazy”. “I handle my problems in my own way”. Black culture IS a MF liar. The suicide rate amongst Blacks, although lower than almost every other ethnic group (second to but virtually identical to that of Asians) has been on a steady incline the last five years (statistics available @ afsp.org). The irony in this statistic ties into the mentalities I began to broach upon a few lines back. Even though our suicide rate is relatively low, I’m confident in saying that if Black America dealt with mental heath in more acceptant and less abrasive manners, the rate would decrease exponentially. But for generations the same ignorant reasoning has existed. Generally any of us in Black America, regardless of age or gender, are often labeled and even told that we are just “in our feelings” when a closer look often will at least foster a discussion of the possibility of some type of mental illness. But my question is this: is it still acceptable to use this as rationale when “being in our feelings” lasts for a season or three? Never ceases? Remember how Black folk were like GTFOH when Robin Givens said that Mike Tyson was a manic depressant (bipolar) on that infamous 20/20 interview? They ripped her reasoning apart. Sure, she was a piece of shit, but she wasn’t wrong with that point. But we casually cast it to the trash heap as rubbish. Then there’s the “I’ll be alright, just let me get over it” theory we often inflict on ourselves. We have been told for so long that we can and should just “snap out of it” that we painfully accept it as wisdom, even though deep down we know something much heavier than a “just get over it” solution is needed and is a complete fallacy. Then there’s the machismo element with our men (self included, of course). The good old “suck it up because you’re a man” mentality. The you’re a “pussy for being in your feelings” mentality. The “real men don’t go through this kind of thing” stigma. It’s all bullshit. So many Black men have been forced to suppress mental illness for so long because our culture will quickly dismiss us as weak cry-babies. The completely ignorant will call us gay for feeling a particular way (that’s a whole other can of fucking worms I’d love to discuss in-depth at some point...the way we disrespect gay culture and place all perceived shortcomings on the possibility of homosexuality). That shit truly disgusts me. But young Black boys often grow to be angry Black men who one day tragically implode because of forced suppression of feelings and underlying mental illness. Then this is my favorite (not) of them all: the ridicule for seeking and receiving mental health component. I could go on and on for days, but I’ll sum it up quickly and concisely with a piece of prudent wisdom one of my elders once posed to me in question form: if your arm is broken, wouldn’t you go to the hospital and get it repaired/mended? The exact same is true with your brain. That shrink you dread even thinking about walking through the office door to see may not only save your life, but could be the reason for your major life breakthrough. You may just find that you were the one holding yourself back from greatness. And to throw gasoline on this fire, my play Christians who admonish fellow Christians for seeking mental health, to just pray on it and don’t tell anyone about it...you are a big part of the damn problem. I’m pretty sure that God made psychiatrists and psychologists in the same mold as surgeons. So let the Good Lord lead them to a mental health specialist and get your ig’nant, backwoods, old nigger time religion the fuck outta here. The Lord has and will always empower us to do. And doing could very well mean seeking a mental health specialist. We all know the damage ignoring mental health issues leads to: depression, mental and physical abuse (self-inflicted and upon others), drug, alcohol, and sex addiction, and suicide, chiefly. We can definitely and definitively do more to avoid these calamities and tragedies. But that begins simply by doing. Seek help. Please. I could spend time talking in-depth about my own personal battles with depression or the time I was determined to kill myself. But I’d rather leave you with the affirmation of seeking mental health by telling you my discussions with my Doc has made me a better person and helped me through my depression. All praise be to God. Again, if you feel you may suffer from some form of mental illness, please seek treatment. It may save your life as well. Many blessings.