black mental health 2
We have no choice. If we wish to dig deeply into black mental health, we’ve got to end the silence on ugly topics. Addiction? Domestic violence? Suicide? Traumas from our childhoods linger from their repressed places and create similar traumas in the present, if not discussed and worked through healthily. This fictional story illustrates the importance of these awkward conversations. This story mirrors the silent realities for all too many of us.
From the very beginning of a young black boy’s life, his childhood is marred by his dad’s cocaine addiction, subsequent domestic violence issues, and the resulting parental divorce. The memories permanently scar him, and he deeply feels the pain these troubles put every member of his family through— including his dad.
His greatest fear, though, is turning into those flawed sides of his dad. So his most shameful moments are those in which he feels himself mimicking those negative qualities.
From a young age, this fear leads to dismissal of drug treatment. Although told as a child that he may have certain mental “disorders”, he and his mom agree definitively against any potential treatment. Despite his best efforts, though, teenage/young adult pressures eventually result in the boy turning to a couple of recreational/habitual vices. Things are still calm enough, though.
While in a toxic relationship in college, his undiscussed mental health problems come front and center. Even during the darkest times for him emotionally, he’s completey unaware of mental health’s existence. His severe problems are reaching their tipping points alongside his partner’s, and then BAM! Suddenly, he’s a significant participant in a domestically-violent relationship.
How did that innocent baby boy get here? Was this doomed sequence inevitable, or could it have been avoided through simply talking?
It’s sad how many of us live stories like this. We encourage our loved ones to just move past things rather than healing sufficiently/transparently, so we don’t even begin truly healing/addressing our mental complications until shit has already hit the fan.
What point has to be reached for us to begin demanding these important conversations in our communities? How many people must suffer in silence? Drug and violence issues, among many others, prevail throughout our communities and create cycles of mental health triggers and problems for our children.
Children of drug addicts are more susceptible to drug dependence. Children of domestically violent parents are more susceptible to domestic violence. The complex potential triggers are endless. Our childhood traumas create our present day nightmares. Many of us are walking around with different forms of PTSD and different triggers. The ways in which this PTSD manifests may vary greatly, but at the root are typically fear and shame.
Our life stories are us. We are our life stories. We must not avoid discussing these extremely impactful aspects of our stories, because to do so limits the health of our minds and souls. Although we cannot change the previous chapters, we damn sure need to write beautiful future ones. And more importantly, we need to make those in our communities feel free to do the same. We have no choice.