Mental Health is a topic that needs to be brought to the forefront. It’s too often swept under the rug and nobody talks about the stigma attached to it. Mental health in the black community is especially shunned upon. Society looks at this problem with a closed mind to the detriment of anyone who needs mental health support.
I did not believe in anyone having mental health issues. It never made any sense to me why a person would be depressed, anxious or suicidal when life is so beautiful? I came to realize that my view on the subject was totally wrong when it happened to me.
In 2014 out of nowhere I became suicidal. I kept hearing a voice in my head telling me to kill myself and for weeks I suffered. I didn’t want to be in my house because the urge to commit suicide grew stronger, especially with the knives so close in the kitchen.
I honestly thought I was going crazy and needed to be sent to the Pink House (a place in Grenada where people with mental issues go for treatment). Luckily my sister was visiting Canada and she was able to help me. She took me to a church where a pastor prayed for me. After that meeting, I was able to make a mental shift. After a few weeks I felt better. I came to terms with living and life, but the feeling didn’t last.
As time went by, past post-traumatic stress, along with anxiety and panic attacks led me down a dark path. I was too ashamed and didn’t talk about it, I suffered in silence. Towards the end 2017 I started paying weekly visits to my doctor for every little ache and pain. I was requesting tests after tests. My doctor was growing concerned about my behavior.
In 2018 my world stopped when my father suddenly passed away and the days got even darker. I remembered the day after my father passed away, I was in my doctor’s office requesting a Cardiac stress test. Two days after my father’s funeral I was on a treadmill doing a stress test. I was convinced I would have the same fate as my father and die.
It was becoming extremely hard to cope with my anxiety and the panic attacks grew closer in occurrence. Eventually I mustered up the strength to admit to my doctor what he knew all along. I was suffering from mental illness. He referred to a psychotherapist who worked with me and ultimately saved my life.
I remember telling a friend I was going to get help for my psychological issues and she started laughing at me. I was ashamed and embarrassed because I didn’t want anyone thinking I was crazy or sick in the head.
So many people are walking around in silence because of fear of being judged on their mental status. It’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to ask for help. Mental illness is a disease and no one should feel guilty for suffering from it.
Friends, family members and co-workers please be mindful and open to the discussion of mental health, you can save someone’s life. Let us all be kind and love each other despite life’s hardships. If you are struggling with a mental illness, it’s okay to seek professional help. I am so glad I did.