1.21.2017

Why black girls don't get help for depression

 This is Simone Battle, a member of the girl group GRL she committed 
suicide on 09/05/2014 at age 25, her friends and family believed it 
was due to being depressed over money issues.  She was very beautiful 
and talented.  This article quotes her as being "strong" and "independent" ,
her loved ones had no idea of the pain she was going through.
RIP

The idea for this post came about when I asked myself why I haven't gotten real help for my mental issues, I've had them since I was a kid.  I've dealt with them for years, was hospitalized years ago, and since then nothing.  For me it feels impossible, like I'll be living in this deep dark void of self sabotage and pain forever.  I have almost no friends, I can't hold a job, I'm always on the verge (if that makes sense), and it truly feels like my future is bleak.  I'm sure any sane person would be asking themselves why I (or anyone like me) won't just get help.

Nobody seems to realize it's not that easy. 

I feel for black women especially it's impossible, we have so many barriers.
Lots of us may never get help.


stereotypes and expectations

Black women are rarely seen in media with mental health issues, rarely.  We don't need to be saved or helped, apparently, so we're never put into that role. 

As a black women you're supposed to be this beacon of strength, have attitude, an advice giver, all that and some.  Be sassy and outspoken.  Either you're a "Queen" or you're "Ghetto", for black women there's no in between.  Doesn't help that we're criticized for everything, whether it be hair, skin, our names, the sound of our voices, how we dress, what we like (who we like), absolutely everything.

Anti-blackness in general is a global problem.

It's almost like black women aren't seen as human, more like a walking caricature.

For example think of when (certain) people say, "on the inside I'm a sassy black women."  Like what the fuck does that even mean?

This way of thinking puts us in a tiny unreal box.

On the other hand we're supposed to be strong, intimidating, or exude confidence.  Because y'know as black girls we're all extroverted and loud and we take no shit! *sarcasm*

We can't be soft or gentle, feel sadness or despair.  We have to stay STRONG STRONG STRONG because that's what is hammered into our heads days in and day out.

We don't get coddled and we especially don't get the benefit of the doubt.

praying is the cure

In a lot of black communities going to church and believing in God plays a huge role in our families.  The church is like a safe haven, our grandparents and sometimes parents go there every Sunday, we're told we need to read the Bible.

We're told to pray.

Mental illness isn't looked at seriously, it's just something you need to pray about.  Somehow that wil make it all go away.

I'm not saying this is true for all black families but it definitely plays a big role in why some don't get help.  Their families make them (or force them) to pray, go to church, or read the bible.  They believe that will fix us.

In reality it doesn't.

For some it may but it's not the same as getting real professional help.

My mom is very religious and I hate even bringing up any of my mental issues because I know the first thing she'll say is I need to come to church.  So I don't even bring it up to her anymore. 
no support from family

There's people who have fucked up families who just don't give a shit.  They don't care, they're no help, no support, and they basically ignore it.  They expects us to get over it.  Then they make us believe that there's worse problems in the world and ours just isn't serious enough.

Another issue is some families fear medicine.

I know when I was admitted into the mental ward in 9th grade my doctors were trying to put me on anti-depressants and my parents refused.  To be honest I'm not sure why.  Maybe because of the side effects but I can't help thinking that maybe if I got those pills my life could've been better now.
no insurance

Insurance is confusing, expensive, and annoying as fuck to deal with.  Especially for those unlucky ones who aren't under their parent's insurance (or are and have unhelpful parents), unable to qualify for affordable insurance, or who don't even know how to start the process.

Health insurance is a never ending maze.

I personally even went to a health insurance advisor and was even more confused by the process.  And I didn't qualify for affordable insurance because I made too much money, I guess.  Even though I was making a little over minimum wage, I had my own place, a bunch of bills, and there's no way I could've afforded the premiums they were quoting which was higher then $200.00 per month.

You literally have to be near homeless, jobless, or making little money to get benefits.

few black psychiatrists

I feel that as a black girl I find it crucial to have a doctor or psychiatrist that's black as well, I'm sure there's people who don't agree but personally I want to talk to someone who can identify with my issues and struggles.

Who knows my environment.

Who isn't looking through a glass box and pretending like they understand.

I'm not saying none black psychiatrists aren't valid, they are.  It's just from my stand point I want someone who can understand me and my culture.

And frankly where I live that's hard to find. 

fear 

We're scared.

Like I wrote above black women get put down and criticized for EVERYTHING so for me I always think why get help because no one will care.  Once that thought gets in my head I begin to believe:

1. It's not that serious
2. Get it over
3. Just ignore it.

We're afraid to think of it as a real illness so we convince ourselves that it's a weakness or a mood swing.

And I hate hospitals.

Nurses and doctors can be very apathetic.

I remember going to the doctor once and they wouldn't believe I was a virgin, they even acted mad about it.  Back then I was timid so I allowed that to happen and it helped sour my view of some health practitioners.

You don't want to open up to people like that.

Due to that "loud ghetto scary" stereotype it's easier for us to run into people like this.  Who don't give a shit and don't want to help.  Some black girls are seen as intimidating the moment we get looked at, the moment we speak, laugh, do anything. 

It's a sad reality.

Are these excuses or legitimate reasons?

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741

Thanks for reading,

Lanelle.
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-74

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