by Alberta Parish
Mental illness is a subject matter that a lot of black people shy away from. Sometimes, I find that many black people act like they’re scared to face the reality of mental illness among their peers, relatives, or coworkers. We tiptoe around the subject of mental illness instead of facing it head-on.
Today, Black America has the brightest people in every major industry from banking to the entertainment industry. We are the most productive workaholics in the world. Many of us work too damn much, and don’t take enough vacation time off. I think most working black parents don’t spend enough time with their children. As a result, most black children are pretty much raising themselves. Many of these children are growing up with serious mental and emotional problems that have gone unaddressed and undiagnosed for many years.
In the black community, the stigma associated with seeing a licensed therapist or psychiatrist is that the patient has to be mentally insane. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, children just need to talk to somebody who will listen to every word they’re saying. There are times when children feel they cannot have an honest conversation with their parents without being scolded for talking ‘too much’ or ‘talking crazy’. Parents are sometimes too tired to have regular talks with their children. I knew a Christian woman who committed suicide in 2010, and nobody saw it coming. Not even her own daughters who lived with her. Sometimes, people are dealing with problems that they feel are uncontrollable. Once a person loses his power to control his own destiny, he loses hope. I believe all suicides are a result of a lack of hope that things will get better.
Take into consideration the kind of culture we live in. This culture was designed to divide everybody and keep us constantly at odds with one another. It was designed to keep us in constant competition with each other. Either you’re lucky or you’re not so lucky. Either you have money or you don’t have money. Either you’re rich or poor. Sometimes, life doesn’t always get better for everybody. The question is, are you prepared for the challenges of life?
Many people have been deceived by the grass being greener on the other side until they stepped over and saw a lot of weeds mixed in with the greenery of Earth. The weeds ended up choking the life out of the greenery. This is the same scenario when dealing with people. You got your good trees, and then you got your weeds. People who love to keep shit going all the time are the weeds. Therefore, they got to be plucked up out of your life every now and again. Life is too short to be dealing with unnecessary bullshit. Some people cannot be helped no matter what you say or do. They will either save themselves or perish. They will either gain enlightenment or continue walking around in the darkness of ignorance. You only have a certain time span of life, then you’re dead. I believe our energy lives on, however. We’re not just solid matter, but living energy. We’re like lightbulbs with electrical circuits. Our circuits are closely interrelated to all the electrical items we use like our cars, cell phones, computers, etc. Sometimes, my circuits send shockwaves through my fingertips whenever I touch my car. Right now, I’m full of electricity. However, there will come a time when my electrical circuits will stop working. Then, I’m dead and my energy gone back into the universe. We humans are probably alone in this universe. But what about other universes? Maybe, there are parallel universes. Not the mythical land called Heaven, but parallel universes.
Mental illness in Black America is like the problem child or black sheep of the family that nobody wants to deal with. This black sheep ends up being the huge elephant in the room. There are certain people who demand special attention, because they got special problems. Usually, a person who suffers with mental illness ends up being the star of his or her own show, because they will demand that everybody stop and pay attention to what they’re doing or not doing. Some of them end up on the 6 o’clock evening news, because they just robbed and shot somebody at a convenience store. Sometimes, they end up being gunned down by law enforcement officials, because they misunderstood the hand gestures of a mentally insane black person. Society already treats black kids like common criminals, not even recognizing the fact that many of them are mentally incompetent and/or insane. More often than not, mentally ill people end up committing suicide.
A lot of people are walking around with undiagnosed mental illnesses. This is why you must be careful how you treat people, because you never really know what is in a person’s mind. The same societal problems we see are the same problems that existed in prior Western cultures. They existed in ancient Greece. Ancient Rome. Ancient Britain. From ancient times to Medieval times, we see mental illness as the root cause of societal corruption and chaos always perpetuated by a certain group of people with a predisposition toward violence. Unfortunately, living in a Westernized culture has done black people a great disservice culturally and mentally. This culture has turned black people into zombies perpetuating the idea of Western civilization. There is nothing civilized about the Western world.
We have to know our history so we won’t be doomed to repeat it.