black-man-mental-health

Reflections on my thirty-four years as a Black man with mental illness

By Kelvin Easiley, Jr

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This is the time when a laser focus is trained on the various complexities people of color encounter while facing mental health stigma and a shoddy healthcare system.The same healthcare system many people of color approach with grave skepticism.

There are many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or both but are high-functioning individuals. These folks get dressed, go to work, attend social gatherings and have mental health concerns that are untreated, undiagnosed, and unaddressed. In some cases the pressure of keeping up a veneer of wellness eventually drives these high-functioning people to seek care.Others fall into a cycle of being asymptomatic, which means that an individual is  “presenting no symptoms of disease (depending on the absence of triggers and stressors), to experiencing a deluge of symptoms that run the gamut of mental health disorders.

I turn thirty-four in a few days. I am excited about it.

I realized this morning how hard I fight for my fucking life. I am a Black man with schizoaffective disorder. Nine years have passed since my twenty-fifth birthday and I’m still alive. I don’t take this lightly, because growing up, it was common knowledge that many young Black men did not make it to their twenty-fifth birthday.

I woke this morning unable to get out of bed. Thus, I couldn’t make it to work on time, again. I had to alert my supervisor to my belated arrival. It wasn’t the usual, “not feeling like going to work today, so I’m staying in bed”, it was “my medication has me so drowsy, that the six hours of sleep I got last night hasn’t sufficed to have had the half life of the side effects wear off.” kind of staying in bed.  

Jay-Z pens column asking artists to use their platform for social justice

As one of the most well-known rappers in the world who’s taken a deep dive into social justice, Jay-Z is more than qualified to make a call to action. The Brooklyn rapper and business mogul recently penned a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter calling on his fellow artists to use their platforms for the greater good. 

When white people enter a space, anti-Blackness always does too

On October 29th 2012, Glenda Moore’s two sons were killed during Hurricane Sandy, the youngest casualties during the storm. I say during rather than of the storm because the death of Moore’s children–Connor, 4 and Brendan, 2–was caused by another type of tempest, one that has gone on far, far longer and is far more brutal.

Police said Moore, a Black nurse, became stuck in Staten Island while trying to get to safety. When the floodwaters began to sweep her car away, the desperate mother was able to pull her sons from it, but the two small boys were quickly whisked up by the currents. Distraught, Moore banged on the doors of many neighbors who refused to lend a hand. One told her, “I don’t know you. I’m not going to help you.” Another turned off the lights and refused to answer when she rang the doorbell. Moore’s neighborhood was 64% white (in 2010).

Members of Congress work to ban ‘conversion therapy’

In the darker days of U.S. history, “conversion therapy” was used as a means to force members of the LGBTQ community to live a heterosexual lifestyle. The use of electric shot treatments, forced nausea and biased therapy practices were used to “cure” what many people welt was a disease. While there are still institutions that support these methods, a group of Democratic Congress members are working to ban their existence. 

What our fixation on Michelle Obama’s hair says about the space we give Black women to breathe

I can probably count on my two hands how many times I’ve seen my mother’s hair outside of its headwrap. For modesty’s sake, she has religiously worn the garment almost every day for as long as I have been alive. To my mother, hair is an intimate experience, to be let down only in intimately personal moments–and she has always had far, far too few of those in a world that demands she give all her energy simply to survive.

Artist Makeda Lewis on Luck And Her Now Iconic Afro-Feminist Coloring Book

By: L. G. Parker

By now you’ve heard of Atlanta-based artist Makeda Lewis. The 25-year-old multidisciplinary artist’s Avie’s Dreams, an Afro-Feminist coloring book and surrealist poem, has been celebrated by Saint Heron, Nylon, Blavity and more. In its rich pages, uncolored images are accompanied by introspective words that speak to the artists journey as a person as well as Avie’s self-evolution, the book’s central character.

The Bigots Are Right: The HIV Epidemic Among Black, Gay Men is from Immorality

By: Marq Montgomery

**This article was originally posted at AngryBlackHoemo.com and has been republished with permission**

 

It’s Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, so it’s a good of a time as any to dive into this topic.

When we talk about the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Gay men, in general, there’s often an air of judgement and condescension, dripping with implications that any of us who contract the virus “deserve it” for our “immoral” behavior. And when you add in the racism of addressing Black, Gay men, that attitude only grows…even from other Gay men.

4 Ways to Deal with Politically Different Family this Holiday

This holiday season, many of us will return home to our families, who, even though they love us very much and we love them, may hold different political beliefs. It won’t be easy.

The current political moment is an especially tough one if you or your loved ones voted for different presidential candidates back in November. In order to get through this holiday season not only dealing with politically different family, but truly enjoying yourself and your time together, here are 4 tips to breeze through the holidays with family who may not be so “woke.”

Four Ways to #StayBlack on Black Friday

It’s Black Friday, or the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. While yesterday was a #NationalDayOfMourning for many, today is often a chance for people who celebrate the day to dive into left-overs, relax with family, and for many of us, shop ’til we drop. While we are buying presents for loved ones and ourselves, whether we are overjoyed or overwhelmed, let us keep in mind a few ways that we can #StayBlack amidst the holiday hoopla and the political tension that has been mounting in this country for months.

Prioritizing Mental Health In The Era of Trump

I am one of those people who attempted to (and probably failed at) ignoring the presidential race for much of 2016. The prospect of potentially having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was grief inducing enough but to watch the campaign antics in real-time felt like a malignant form of self-harm.

However, now that Trump is the president-elect (a phrase I struggle with even typing at this moment), I – like many others – am forced to reckon with the realities before me. I have seen many people posting memes about drinking to cope with the election results or joking about starting nonprescription drugs to distract them from what is surely to come. And, while I – like so many others – have considered self-medicating as a way to cope, I am convinced that we must also be frank in this moment about the very real anxiety and fear this new political development brings on in an effort to move our collective grief toward collective action and healing.