To Be Young, Black and Well: A Self-Care Syllabus for a Healthy 2016
I’d left the hospital a few days before 2015 New Year’s following an overdose. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, you know that leaving doesn’t make you magically well or even wholly interested in living.
2015 was the year I outgrew a lot of my vices and had to really learn how to take care of myself mentally, to be a step faster than the depression and mania and to make sure that the way that I took care of myself did not involve hurting or overwhelmingly relying on other people. It’s an ongoing but uphill journey, and one that took a while to really decide to participate in.
I resent much of social media advice about mental illness, so I share the following not as fact but as things that have resonated with me in my ongoing experiences with therapy and navigating my depression and BPD on a daily basis.
I hope that these are useful to you.
What is this “self care”?
The phrase is used often, and with good reason, but you may be unclear about what exactly it could mean for you. Consider these discussions.
Run by poet and writer Diamond Sharp, this blog is dedicated to all things black girls and women and mental health.
Everyone has their own approach to self care, and the eleven women in this article make that clear.
Mia McKenzie and CarmenLeah Ascencio discuss blind spots in our discussions of self care.
On Starting Therapy
Therapy is only as useful as the strength of the relationship between you and your therapist. Having an idea of what you want to accomplish therein is useful, and don’t be afraid to only and seek a therapist with whom you share certain identities.
CarmenLeah Ascencio debunks myths against queer people of color going to therapy.
CarmenLeah Ascencio discusses navigating starting therapy as a QTPOC.
Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton discuss seeking a therapist in their podcast, Another Round.
Despite all the professional advice I’ve gotten about self care in the past year, it’s really been personal narratives that have sustained me and made me aware of avenues that I would’ve otherwise not considered. These are some of my favorites.
Death Valley: Or, How Not to Kill Yourself in Less Than Ten Days by I’Nasah Crockett
I’Nasah Crockett’s zine engages compelling imagery and draws upon elders like James Baldwin to explore her particular journey.
Odes to Lithium by Shira Erlichman
Poet Shira Erlichman’s series of odes to lithium engages the medication often in unexpected ways that do the work of challenging common misconceptions of medications making people zombies or causing them to lose their creativity.
Dear Crazy by Diamond Sharp
Diamond Sharp pens powerful letters to her BPD and it’s mania.
Unfinished Letters From the Most Popular Kid in the Psych Ward by Casey Rocheteau
Casey Rocheteau reflects on her experience in a psychiatric hospital through a series of letters to different personnel who contributed to the experience.
You Are Not Christ by Rickey Laurentiis
I don’t remember the question but I know a psychiatrist asked me something and I read her this poem in response.
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