The New PBWB: Getting Your Mind Right

A few weeks ago or maybe even a month or two ago, I had an epiphany on the direction that I wanted to go with this blog. I was excited about continuing the topics I’ve written about already—inspiration, empowerment, self-esteem, goal-setting, sisterhood, motherhood, etc—but I also wanted to start writing about something that is still taboo in American society, especially in the black community—mental illness.

I’d been listening to a few T.D. Jakes sermons about finding and living your purpose. The phrase, “Nothing you’ve been through will be wasted” kept showing up whenever I watched one of his worship services online or read an article about him. It made me think about my life. It made me reflect on the trials that have molded me into who I am today–my own struggles with depression and the effects of alcoholism on my family. Even though I strongly feel that my purpose involves speaking out on these types of issues, I can’t deny that it FREAKS ME OUT! In fact, that’s probably why I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. I hadn’t mustered up enough courage to write about the topics that really moved me so I just didn’t write anything. But the wise Nelson Mandela once said that “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it” so I guess it’s okay to feel afraid, but definitely not okay to let that fear prevent me from action.

Disclaimer: I have no rights to this photo. Copyright by asboluv, "tortured soul (asboluv - stencil on cardboard)" CC BY 2.0

Disclaimer: I have no rights to this photo. Copyright by asboluv, “tortured soul (asboluv – stencil on cardboard)” via flickr, CC BY 2.0

Let’s face it, as black people, we have a hard time calling a spade a spade when it comes to the topic of mental illness. I think many of us still deny that black people deal with mental health issues like other races do. For one thing, we often don’t consider substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse, a form of mental illness. We don’t bat an eye at that relative that can wake up looking for a beer before breakfast or the one that we rarely, if ever, see sober. It’s just the way it is. Of course, alcoholism is not just a black issue, but I do think it’s time to start having frank conversations about all forms of mental illness that are occurring in our communities instead of acting like it’s a “white problem.” Even if many of us don’t have personal experience with mental disorders, we may have a friend that dealt with postpartum depression, a third cousin that had a nervous breakdown, or an uncle that has a drug problem. We are not immune to mental illness and it’s time we stop being ashamed of it, or worse, in denial about it.

Popped Black Woman Blog is still about being positively optimistic & powerful. Yet, I can’t sit here and act like it’s easy or even possible to live our best lives by simply telling ourselves to think happier thoughts if we are battling severe clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or some other serious form of mental illness. Sometimes all the self-help books, TED talks, or prayer group/Bible study meetings just won’t do it. Gasp! Don’t judge me on the last comment. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. I’m just one of those people that believes that God can heal through doctors and therapists, not only through your pastor. Let’s keep it real here. Some people NEED medication. To deny this would be naïve, unhealthy, and possibly deadly.

I hope to discuss all of the same ole stuff, while also sharing resources available to those that struggle with mental illness, self-care tips for everybody, and simply shed more light on how mental health issues affect the lives of people of color in America. Don’t worry. I’ll still hit you all with my random 101 Things in 1001 Days updates, lotion-making/DIY progress, and any other topics that may encourage you all or make you smile.

As always, keep it positively optimistic & powerful folks and share any thoughts you have in the comments or on Facebook 😉

7 thoughts on “The New PBWB: Getting Your Mind Right

  1. Toya says:

    This!!!:

    “I’m just one of those people that believes that God can heal through doctors and therapists, not only through your pastor. Let’s keep it real here. Some people NEED medication. To deny this would be naïve, unhealthy, and possibly deadly.”

    Me too! I talk about mental illness & depression in my Facebook page often. I hate that it’s so taboo still. Just like we take care of our physical health by seeing a doctor or personal trainer or nutritionist, and just like we go to church or talk to a pastor for our spiritual health I believe we must do the same with our mental health through therapy and counseling. I have a family member who believes she is healed from being bipolar because of prayer and she thinks God healed her but I feel like her life would be in a better place if she was still on her meds. She’s not making good decisions. Had another family member who is schizophrenic and it took her mom a long time to accept it. She wanted to pray it away. Prayer works to cope and meditation but some things you need counseling and/or medication. No way around it. I’ve dealt with depression on and off over the years. Lately it was worse the last few years. On my second round of counseling since last fall First time was 12 years ago. My very first blog from 13 years ago I would write about my depression and going to counseling on my campus. I need to get things in order and realigned and I wasn’t feeling myself so I decided to go. And it’s helping. Luckily over the last few years I have been hearing about more black people talk about mental health or friends telling me they’re going to counseling/therapy though it’s still taboo.

    I look forward to reading your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • poppedblackwomanblog says:

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your own journey and experiences! And major props to you for being outspoken about these things on Facebook! I admit that I’m still working on being more open about it because it is still so taboo as you say, but the more people like you and me speak up, the more comfortable others will feel speaking out about what they’re going through and getting the help that they need! I appreciate you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Toya says:

        You’re welcome! I don’t really speak out about my own situation on because people are judgemental and I have coworkers and some folks I don’t wanting to know that about me, however I do post about how people should get help, go to counseling and encourage people to go or post stories via my post letting them know that there’s nothing wrong with getting help. I guess because of that, I’ve had people open up to me because I guess they know I wouldn’t be judgemtal about it. I’ve been seeing a lot more black celebrities come out and talk about their bouts with depression, anxiety, bipolar or whatever else and I’m glad they are! Besides depression I deal with Anxiety, and both hinders me with some things sometimes but I’m still pushing through!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tiffany says:

    Wow, thank you for this. I woke up this morning trying to find something of substance to read and found this. Its ironic because I was having this same conversation with a family member who believes that we “black people” dont have these kinds of problems. I encourage you to keep going down this path. It can be uplifting to help someone understand what it means to be free and optimistic so please don’t think that it isnt. I loved your boldness to write about things that come to you. I myself will try to do the same. I believe it gives these types of blogs a certain realness and comfort that keeps you coming back. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s