“You’re just a little sad.”
“Things will get better, don’t worry.”
“All you need to do is pray; God will work it out.”
“You come from a strong line of people, we’ve survived slavery, Jim Crow and years of racism; you can get through this problem.”
To someone suffering with depression, these statements can be hurtful, angering and very isolating. Depression is far from slavery, genocide, or the institution of racism, but to some it can be very frightening with very real pain.
As a professional in human services it is the most difficult thing in the world to watch people suffer when there is help out there. This feeling is even worse when you have a personal relationship with this person. For the last few years that is exactly what I have been dealing with in my own life. I’ve watched this person have extreme mood swings, going from manic to depressive in what feels like the blink of an eye. Over time, this person’s extreme ups and downs have pushed people away and literally damaged some very important relationships for them. Like many African-Americans, this person is spending their life suffering (aware or unaware of diagnosis) and not seeking the help they need. In the case of the person I’m talking about there is no official diagnoses; however they have been told by myself and others to seek help and displayed many of the symptoms of Bipolar Type II.
Remember Bipolar disorder is far from easy to understand and in many cases the symptoms can look like separate issues. This reality makes Bipolar difficult to diagnose in general and as a result has led to it being even worse in the Black community due to our lack of seeking treatment. For this reason, many people and those who love them may suffer for years before ever being treated, making this a frustrating and debilitating illness. If you or anyone you love is suffering please seek help.
Read the rest! Visit Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project: Bipolar in the Black Community | Radiant Sunshine.
For many years I have heard people in the Black community pass judgment on others by using terms like, “crazy” or “touched”, to identify those that may suffer from mental illness. This history of ignorance has created a huge stigma in our community. The fact is, many Blacks do not believe or acknowledge mental illness as true medical condition. . .
The stigma attached to mental illness in our community is associated with shame and disgrace, hiding that we either don’t believe or acknowledge there is a problem. This shame creates the view that anyone suffering from mental illness is a weak individual, does not have faith in God or is using a diagnosis as an excuse. With these views placed on individuals who are mentally ill in our community, it causes them to believe they are the problem and have to suffer in silence. This silence for many of those suffering means not seeking treatment and getting the support needed to improve their quality of life.
Read the post in its entirety! Visit Blog For Mental Health 2014: The Stigma of Mental Health in Black Community | Radiant Sunshine.