"Black Men, Suicide and Depression" by MizCaramelVixen

I wrote this post on VixenVarsity.com back in January and I felt compelled to share it here to the balleralert family. I hope that this can touch someone who might be struggling. Thank you for reading.

All day I kept seeing #RIPYusuf on my timeline, of course I wanted to see how this person passed and it broke my heart to see that he committed suicide. Apparently this young man knew a lot of people and touched, helped and inspired many. Seeing "RIP" tweets from various celebrities along with pictures of him and it was always something inspiring in the description.

I did, however, see in a picture of him, that even though he was smiling, his eyes told a completely different story. As a black woman with depression trust me when I tell you I can put the biggest smile on my face, laugh the heartiest laugh and inside I'm in torment. I know those "signs" all too well.

"The eyes are the windows to your soul"


Back in August of 2012, a well-known celebrity, Chris Lighty committed suicide. He also inspired others, he was a hip hop mogul, started careers of well-known musicians. Now, while I personally didn't know him, I bring him up to mention that you never know what's going on in someone's HEAD. They can be surrounded by friends, have a beautiful woman by their side, successful and still just dealing with who knows what upstairs (brain).

The word "therapy" is a word that is hardly used in the black community. We're taught when we are young to not tell anyone your business. Whatever is going on within your family stays within the four walls. It was never discussed. Secrets. You HAVE to keep the secrets. While I am not a black man, "the mottos" are "MAN UP" and "MEN DON'T CRY" and that's that.

As you get older you keep things bottled up inside because you don't want anyone in your business. So going to therapy and talking about your problems, your issues, is NOT going to happen. Now all that anger, sadness, depression, etc is bottled up inside of you and you don't show any feelings. BUT what you WILL do is find another alternative to let all of that out. That's where self medication comes into play.

  • Drinking
    Risky sexual behavior
    Gambling
    Aggressive behavior
    Violence
    Infidelity
    Drugs


There are so many ways to self medicate to not feel. Self medication is used to not feel anything, to make yourself void of feelings. Only problem is...those feelings will come back eventually. It dulls the senses, so whatever your issue was, you've forgotten about it...for now.

There's also staying so busy/active that there is no time for you to think about your issues. Working more than 40 hours a week. Offering to stay at work longer, bringing work home. Playing video games all day, you can't think of anything else because it will mess you up game wise. Running. Some people use running as an "excuse". They're running away from their problems. Focusing on running, music blasting in your ears, you're in another world. We have a way of crying/screaming out for help in silence and no one will ever know about it until...well, you know.

Now, I am in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM SAYING THAT'S WHAT THOSE TWO PEOPLE DID. Let's just get that out the way.

Mental health in the black community is needed. It's important, but we have to get past the stigma of not telling people our business. You asking for and getting help is not being weak. Do you know how strong you have to be to know that you're f***** up, can't take it anymore and actually SEEK HELP? Pretty damn strong. Do you know how GOOD it feels to let go of a secret that's been kept bottled up inside for years? decades?

Well let me tell you it feels AMAZING to let that weight off your shoulders, to put your bag down, even if for a second. Those bags are heavy. Understand that therapy isn't a quick fix, there are going to be times when you HATE your therapist, that you wish you never went and you vow that you will never return, but you will go back...trust me. Even if you sit in silence.

There has to be a piece of you that is TIRED of putting on this facade of "I'm so happy :) ", when deep down inside you are angry at the world. Or you wish you weren't even living anymore because all of this pain will end. You say to yourself you wouldn't be upset if you didn't wake up the next morning. You can't live like that...actually that's not even living, you're existing in the world until you cease to exist. What kind of life is that? Don't you WANT to be legitimately happy?

I'm not here telling you that if you go to therapy a few times you're floating on cloud nine and you're happy and that's that. NO, it doesn't work that way. Along with therapy, YOU have to change the way YOU handled things in the past and try a different way for the present. Maybe it's count to 10 before blowing up at someone. I.DON'T.KNOW. but I *DO* know that therapy has saved lives.

Therapy has saved MY life. Therapy has saved other people that I know, INCLUDING black men.

As long as you have a desire to want to get better, become a better man, father, brother, friend, there's hope for you. You deserve happiness. No one was put on this earth to become a miserable f***. NO ONE. So why should you front like you're happy, when inside you wish you were dead? Don't you want to be actually happy and living a life with your friends and family? Those are questions that you need to pose to yourself.

Stop letting the stigmas of "keeping things to yourself" and "manning up" ruin your chance at happiness and PEACE.

There IS NO PEACE if you're wishing you were dead, hating your life, angry, drunk every night, etc. You can't tell me that putting on a front is better than being at peace with yourself, living your life and being happy. Everything that's happened in your life, no matter how shitty, can NOT be changed. There is no time machine. You can, ONE DAY, be at peace with the shitty hand you were dealt in this game called "Life".

But guess what, you're not going to be at peace if you're not dealing with it in SOME kind of way. So I implore you to deal with whatever you're going through, if it stems from your childhood or whenever, with a professional. Therapists aren't there to judge, they listen and ask questions. Above all, they keep it to themselves, Confidentiality is KEY when it comes to therapists. Check your medical insurance provider to see if behavioral health is covered under your insurance, there may or may not be a co-pay.

Stop self-medicating and get help. Suicide is NEVER the answer, even though it may seem to be the ONLY way out at a certain point, it's not. It CAN get better with time.

If you need help call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Nothing is worth ending your life over. NOTHING.

Even though I wrote this article for black men specifically, anyone can benefit from this no matter the gender or race. I implore you to share this blogpost to everyone you know, social media, family and friends. The stigma in the black community MUST change!

If you'd like to talk about this more, in a private setting do not hesitate to email Dean(at)VixenVarsity.com

Views: 406

Tags: depression, mizcaramelvixen, prevention, psychotherapy, self-medicating, stigma, suicide, therapy

Comment by CCD is Workin on a baller 4 she on March 21, 2014 at 11:36am

I say it to people all the time and black people look at me like I'm the crazy one. I'm like, look you are the one in pain. Therapy will help you work through it. Sometimes you don't even know what it is that is causing the pain. If you can put a name to it that will ease it. I agree, a lot of our men need mental health. Just look at some of the things they do and *looks at Tone Copyright* say.

Comment by DAinvisibleMan on March 21, 2014 at 12:34pm

This article is real Sh**.  I suffer from it.  I briefly seeked counseling but I always refer back to my weed and alchohol.  Everybody at work thinks I am the nicest person in the world.  When Im at a social scene, I can be the life of the party. But when I go home, the sdness sinks in, the regrets, the questioning of why I can't find the perfect female partner to be with.  Funny thing is I feel the happiest when I am alone and high.  When I am depressed; I depend on others so much to cheer me up that when it doesn't happen I fall deeper.  It can be as simple as making a simple mistake on the job,  Or getting a females number and her not responding to my text or call.  I be f**ked up for days over things like that and people don't know it.

Comment by TK Hodge on March 21, 2014 at 1:45pm
I'm glad you addressed this. When my father was murdered I didn't know how to deal with my grief. He was the only parent I'd EVER known (my mother died when I was very young) I had a great job, a thorough woman, and I walked around like I was OK. No one knew I was hurting until I came home from work early, with a bottle of Tylenol PMs and some Grey Goose vodka. I didn't write a note, I just took the 96 tablets and drank the entire bottle of vodka. My lady came home excited because she had just found out she was carrying the baby we wanted. Had she NOT come home early to surprise me, I wouldn't be writing this message. Therapy? Our people "don't do therapy" so talking to someone never occurred to me. I still see my therapist, I had no idea that not having my mother and having my father violently taken from me left me deeply scarred. Therapy is better than the alternative.
Comment by Amye Pikulski on March 21, 2014 at 1:46pm

Well said! While I am not African American or a male, I also suffer from depression, anxiety and PTSD. Like "DainvisableMan" I'll attend therapy for awhile and then fall back into old behaviors and fall back onto weed as a crutch. This article is a wonderful glimpse into what many suffer from. I applaud you for bringing this into the light! Thanks

Comment by MizCaramelVixen on March 21, 2014 at 2:43pm

@TKHodge wow, thank you so much for sharing this story with us. GodBless you. Therapy makes my life worth living, you never know what people are hiding that torments them. I am so sorry for your loss. 

@Dainvisableman self-medication doesn't last for long, therapy can help so much. There's a reason why you feel that way, I hope you find out what that is.

@amye I suffer from those as well, my crutch was alcohol and pain meds, not a good combination at all. 

Comment by Tone on March 21, 2014 at 4:58pm
I hate how they just want to give you pills now.
But it always good to talk to someone

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