Traveling down the same road breeds boredom and monotony. In relationships it is bound to cause frustration for the individual who was under the impression the subject that was discussed on the tired-ass road two-three weeks ago was a dead issue: Done with. Addressed. Solved! Of course, we all know that it does not work that way all the time. While I am of the belief that it should, I, more than likely am in the minority. Understanding that I perfectly comprehend that traveling down a more than familiar road does not excite people, it is my prayer you will stay with me for a few minutes – considering what I have typed below has been communicated by me on one occasion before. But, this time I am a tad bit more serious and determined to convince everyone reading that there is a pervasive problem among us that we must begin to identify as Mental Illness.
Mental Illness is real, and black people must begin to acknowledge its presence within our community. We can’t continue to taboo the subject like we have done HIV/AIDS. Insanity is not reserved for those black Vietnam War veterans we pass at highway exits. It is not some random disease that only affects society’s throwaways. No, Extreme Emotional Disturbance (EED) consumes the sista driving around in her silver Mercedes CLS63 AMG. What a hot ride! Mental illness is a part of the brotha’s DNA who appears to have it all together. The dude who has a certain je ne sais quoi that charms everybody. He has a metro-sexual contemporary furnished condo, a fly whip with factory rims, two degrees, a closet full of stylish clothing - and he goes to his $130,000 place of work each and every day as if there is not one problem. This man has it made. He is polished and put together quite well. He has to be. He manages multi-million dollar investments. But, one thing besides his loot and material items separates him from other fellas: He takes a “cuckoo pill” every night. This is the silly descriptive name he has given to his much needed chemical balancing medication. Yeah see, this black man needs something by the REAL name of Lexapro to manage his mood swings; his Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). If he does not take his daily dose, going to that six figure job would be out of the question. His Lazy Boy would surely get all of his attention. Along with the barrage of court television shows. And, on top of this depressing reality, his relationship with the woman who once believed her man was the shit, would be in shambles. Even his sex life would be almost non-existent because without that crazy man’s pill nothing ain’t going to pop-off up in his overpriced Ethan Allen king size bed. If it does, you best believe he is superficially in the sexual moment with his woman. He is somewhere far away dealing with his chemical imbalance that’s causing him to have suicidal thoughts. This man wants to die instead of getting that ass!
If I did not have your attention before I hope I do now because what I am trying to convey is critical.
It was not until Michael Vick was indicted on federal charges that I began to examine mental illness with more scrutiny. At the encouragement of Jay Steele, a lifelong friend and Elite, I actually began to convince myself that Vick’s self-destructive behavior could be linked to a psychological issue and/or disorder. Admitting to myself that Michael Vick’s actions could possibly be a result of a sick mentality appeared to change my opinion of the man I repeatedly referred to as Lamont Sanford (Dummy), but then I said to myself, “This man is stupid." Not crazy.” Nonetheless, isn’t it funny that stupid and crazy are used interchangeably all the time when referring to one’s unusual behavior? On too many occasions we regulate an individual to STUPID. It is easy to do this because it puts the responsibility back on the individual. It should be their act we are speaking of as stupid, not them per say. But, when it comes to crazy we rarely identify the behavior as crazy. We, immediately without caution, will say, ‘that Negro is crazy!’ while never believing it though.
This indicates to me that we are cautiously aware that some of us are mentally ill. However, we as a community fail to really do something about it. In all honesty, we don’t even address mental illness issues. We keep the person in the crazy category while never reaching over or back to provide that ‘in slavery’ type of love that was lost with integration. No, we are too far removed from identifying the obvious. For example, how could family members of Amber Hill, the Ohio mother of two toddlers, not know she was depressed? A deep depression, which apparently stems from domestic violence and the toughness of young motherhood, caused her to allegedly drown her two little girls. I will tell you why. Well, typically, if a brotha goes up to one of his best boys and say, ‘Man, I am depressed.’ The classic response: ‘Quit trippin’ and get over it.’ Or, how about this response that usually comes from a saved woman: ‘It will all be okay. Put it in God’s hands.’ You know I can go somewhere with this last piece of putting it in God’s hands foolishness – but I won’t today. This is how we help each other through mentally exacerbating times. We basically dismiss the issue as silliness, and as God’s help is all one needs. Where was God when Amber was holding her kids under a shallow collection of water in a low income Section 8 apartment bathtub?
Why? Is the question I would like to leave you with. Why aren’t we flocking into therapy sessions? Why are we the last to sign-up for a talk with the company shrink? Why aren’t we addressing the anger and resentment that sizzles through our pores? Why are we so afraid to admit that we have alarmingly serious psychological issues? Why? Perhaps, we are too ignorant to identify this sickness as mental illness. I doubt that. We are an intelligent race of people who are capable of accomplishing all things. We have been successful on countless fronts – but we are lacking in the win category when it comes to embracing our insanity.
Let’s leave the taboo and hush-hush realm, and do something to truly build each other back up emotionally and psychologically. None of us should feel alone in this world. The village proverb has to be reinforced daily. Just because some of us live in $300,000 homes is not indicative of everything is alright with us collectively. The essence of our stewardship should be caring for each other, and not this isolationist (black church) induced attitude: “helping only those members at OUR church”.
I always say that I am crazy. What if I disclosed to you that I am? Seriously, emotionally disturbed. What would you do as my brotha or sista? I ask again, what would you do? I don’t need to know what you would say. Give me your ‘doing actions’. Remember, I just told you that I am crazy!
Info on bipolar disorder and depression:
Written by Muata. Inspired by the two and four year old girls killed by their mother. Inspired by the fact that Isaiah Thomas regulated these young black girls to a bitch before they even became teenagers.