Everyone hurts, but everybody doesn’t choose to heal. In the African American community, its looked at as weak or you’re labeled “crazy” for going outside of cultural norms with actually dealing with your emotions. We deal with things the best way we know how. We shy away from therapy. We aren’t educated nor equipped with the right tools to deal with challenges; such as depression, anxiety, parenting issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, and all of life’s other emotional hurdles.
When something goes wrong the first and easiest thing for people to say is, “Pray about it”. I am a firm believer in God, I know God is real. We need God, but we also NEED HELP. Often, you hear people say “you need help” or “you need to go to counseling”and more times than not, its said in a jokingly manner. If you know me personally, you know that I am funny. I know funny, I am funny. However, depression is not one of those things I think should be joked about. I was ignorant. I thought therapy was something “other people” did, thought it was only in the movies.
The truth of the matter is people hurt. We are all facing a battle that we refuse to talk about, because we don’t want to look “weak”. Or to be judged by the people around us. The same people who are going through the same or even worst emotional turmoil than we are. It’s easy to say “I’M MAD”, when something doesn’t go the right way or people don’t treat you the way you thought they should’ve…instead of saying you’re feeling hurt, sad, betrayed, neglected, or abandoned. So we’ve picked up this “I don’t give a fuck” mentality and we’ll tell anyone who will listen, just how much we don’t care about something/someone who’ve hurt us.
“If you don’t give a fuck then who you got to prove it to”-Joe Budden
We grieve so much and don’t even realize it. I used to look at people sideways and judge them for the way they were choosing to deal with life. The people drinking everyday, going out partying every weekend, having sex with multiple people, using so many drugs until the point of unconsciousness. Without ever wondering, “what void are they trying to fill?” I then realized they are trying to deal with something. Actually, they’re REFUSING to deal with something and choosing to mask it in abusive behavior and that “something” is DEALING WITH THEM.
“Hurt people hurt people”
Let me explain, get personal, speak from my own personal face to face with life, so that you may see my new way of thinking. Before I go on ill be the first to say, I have a therapist, I go to therapy, two, three times a month now. Therapy has saved me from myself! It is essential to understand the degree to which culture impacts the decision for African Americans to attend therapy. It isn’t discussed in day to day life because people refuse to be “judged”. When you’re finished reading my thoughts, hopefully we can start taking the first steps to breaking the “cultural norm”. When I first started going to therapy I didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed…but whats embarrassing about dealing with internal damage? Someone close to me even told me “you crazy”for going to therapy. Well, maybe I am crazy for wanting to feel whole. For years I have been angry, resentful, feeling empty, and lonely. I’ve hurt people without realizing or even caring, because I was hurt. Not necessarily by them, hurt that stemmed from somehwhere much deeper than them.
“You cant really understand another’s reaction to being hurt unless you can comprehend where hurt has taken them before”
I’ve had what to some may say a “good life”. Have been fortunate, blessed to have a set of parents that aren’t biological, take care of me for more than half of my life. I know that they love me and I am forever grateful for them, but I’ve always known/felt that something was missing. Growing up I never had the encouragement I felt like everybody needs. The “I’m proud of you, I love you, I support you no matter what”. Sometimes you just want/need to hear that kind of stuff. When I was 16, I left my biological mothers house and haven’t returned. I didn’t talk to her or my brothers and sisters for YEARS. I had convinced myself that I hated her, no, I did. I did hate her. My biological father isn’t even worth another sentence lets just say “he wasn’t there”. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t love my biological parents because they were not there. In their absence, detachment to every person capable of loving me became present in my life. I’d felt abandoned, broken, neglected, and emotionally unavailable. Up until I just couldn’t keep letting time go by feeling that way. I didn’t even realize I felt that way I just knew I WASN’T HAPPY, no matter what I did, anybody said, or did to try to make me happy.
“Love yourself enough to fight for yourself”
Over the past few years, I yearned that relationship with my mother and now we are a hell of a lot better. Still a work in progress, but we are so much better. Made it my business to fix that disconnect. Instead of being angry with her I chose to forgive her. I love my mother and God Parents, lets just say from them all I know how differently I am going to raise, love, and praise my children.
“Forgiveness is all about taking care of you, not the person you need to forgive. It’s about taking responsibility for your own happiness, instead of pretending it’s in somebody else’s hands”
Figure out whats really going on with you. Why are you the way that you are? Get to the heart of the matter. GO TO COUNSELING. Get the help that you need. Pray. I’ll continue counseling, forgiving, and taking personal accountability. Moving forward with life and not letting my hurt, hurt other people. People love to say “everything gets better with time” but they don’t mention what you NEED to do during that time in order for things to get better. DON”T FORGET THAT PART. So again, time can’t heal what you won’t acknowledge.