Why It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: A Black Mental Health Reality Check

Image from Nubi Magazine

“Why do you see a therapist? Something has to be wrong with you for you to be seeing a therapist.” someone once said to me when I explained where I was for an hour every Thursday.

Is that particularly true though? Does something have to be devastatingly wrong for me to make the decision to speak to a mental health professional?

There is this strange stigma that to this day lingers in the black community that mental health does not afflict us. That we are stronger than our own mental psyche and that we can overcome anything and everything.

While the latter is true, that the black community is very strong and we are able to overcome the many adversities that we are faced with, it’s important to take the time to look within ourselves and make sure we are okay not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

Every day is a constant battle as a black person in America. On broader terms, a person of color in America. Police brutality is a reality that unfortunately we are more subject to simply because of the color of our skin. We can encounter microaggressions daily and while they are considered “micro” – small – those daily encounters can build up to become a problem that we carry around with us for days, months, and even years.

Another issue is that we are told by so many individuals and even ourselves to not be vulnerable. To not show weakness. “To be vulnerable is to be weak”. There are so many things we must unlearn for the sake of our mental health. It’s okay to be weak sometimes. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Neither of these equate to being a lesser human being. Emotions are perfectly normal and okay to express.

No one is happy 100% of the time – it’s unrealistic. It’s also unhealthy to harbor the buildup of the effects our currently society weigh on us. If you feel as though you cannot handle everything alone, find your support system. Seek out friends and family and if you must, a mental health profession.

So let it out. Scream, cry, do whatever you need to do to release those pent up emotions. All of them are valid and deserve to be expressed.

Seeking help and support does not make you weak. It makes you stronger than you may ever know. So please remember that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes and that with the right support, you’ll be okay and and making a step in the right direction in aiding the battle between yourself and your mind.

 

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