Black People, Can We Discuss Depression or Nah?

We are taught to be mindful of what we say; watch our backs; aim for success; maintain a good education; all these lessons, right? 

But, one of the topics that fails to go discussed within the Black household is depression. Yes, it is an extremely sensitive topic, but that doesn't mean that it should get swept under the rug as if it doesn't exist. Keeping the curtain closed on depression has brought much more damage than good to the world, especially in the Black community.

Black people—especially Black men—have always been taught to remain tough and to show little to no emotion and, if an emotion leaks out—particularly depression or sadness—you were weak or being overly dramatic. The lack of black conversations about depression needs to come to an end. Here's why.

First: we are still human. 

There are already enough people throughout the world that don’t consider us to even be human; we don’t need to act like it too. For years, the black man and woman have been called barbaric, animals, monsters, mutants, deformed, aliens—everything that makes us sound inhumane. Because we aren’t considered to be human, wouldn’t that make the emotions and characteristics of a human fall short of us? Wouldn’t, then, that mean we share the emotions of inhumane creatures? When we think of something being inhumane, don’t we think of emotionlessvileferocious—basically a bunch of negative and aggressive behavior? 

And what type of behaviors are we constantly told to withhold in the black community? Y’all see the connection I’m trying to build? I hope so; because this is something I can’t stand to see my people continue to do. 

WE HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE TELLING US WE AREN’T HUMAN, WE DON’T HAVE TO ACT LIKE WE AREN’T EITHER.

We can’t help it! God created us to laugh, and to cry; to smile, and to frown; to walk and to crawl; to strut and to stumble; we have to make sure that we aren’t holding back on something that makes us human

I don’t want my —*cough cough* future —husband or son hesitant to talk to me because society tells them they can’t. I don’t want them to think that because they are black men they can’t release the things that haunt them the most. I know there were plenty of times in my life, and the lives of the people around me, where we felt that we had to keep up to a certain level of silence because we didn’t want to look like the angry-black-woman or dead-beat-father.

Second: our children are suffering.

I don’t know what is really going on in this world, but there are a lot of young black kids who are having their lives cut short. From a person who lost a 15-year-old cousin—Nathan D. Allsbrooks —for no ass reason, there is a lot of built up pain and anger in the black community — especially amongst our boys — and the kids are living up to this standard of holding it in…until it explodes.

Nathan was killed at 15. The shooter — only 18-years-old at the time — was angry about something and he took out his rage by shooting into the crowd that Nathan just so happened to be standing in. They didn’t know each other; they had no prior engagements; it wasn’t gang affiliated — neither are gang members; they hadn’t even made eye contact.

My cousin lost his life because of something that boy had built up on the inside and he exploded

I’m sick of seeing my Black kings’ lives ruined because another got angry; or they were isolated at home; or they didn’t have anyone to talk to. I really am sick of seeing my cousin in multiple stories; we are seeing the same stories with different bodies. This excellence that Black people — especially my kings — have can be cloned but nothing will be like the authentic creation, so we have to preserve it, not aid in its cloning and destruction. If we keep in the pain, we’re just going to keep exploding.

Third: we’d be more progressive if we got to the root of problems. 

There are a number of times that I’ve heard—in my own family and of others—that, if we talked about this years ago there wouldn’t be any problems now; why did you wait to say something; you took too long to open up. We talk about the good moments, but not the bad; you knew when I was glistening but never saw when I was buried; you saw when I was fully blossomed, but I hid when I was just a seed trying to find a root. 

When we stay silent about the whole truth that doesn’t mean that it just disappears. The other side of the truth is still very much there and will still very much remain there until it is released. We’ll continue to be angry, be hurt, be annoyed, be a bitch, be a lame, be a bum, be defensive, be staticky, be radiating an aura of such great pain because we don’t want to talk about it. 

I’m not saying the talk will be easy, but it will be done. I’m not saying that after the conversation you’ll instantly feel better, but it will be done. Think about how good it feels when you have a list and, as you complete each task, you see your list get smaller and smaller until you have finally freed yourself and can just relax; don’t we want that same feeling with our problems? If we just take the time to get to the root and not allow it to remain planted, we can begin placing the good seeds to make new roots.

Lastly: no one should suffer alone.

I’m not gonna lie, there are times in which I absolutely have to be left to myself. Don’t knock on my door; yes…it’s going to remain locked; yes I might come out for something to eat. In those moments, please don’t disturb me. However, there are pains that I’ve experienced that, if I didn’t have someone to cry to, I would’ve lost it. 

As humans, we aren’t programed to manage alone. Yes, everyone should have a degree of independence, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be dependent. I know, you don’t like that word, I don’t either, but that’s just something we gonna have to get pass because if we don’t, we’re gonna lose it. And, I’m sorry, but for all the, I-don’t-need-nobody-I-can-do-bad-all-by-myself-nah-I’m-a-real-one-I-don’t-cry-in-front-of people, cut the shit out—we all need a shoulder, no matter how tough we are. The more shit you’ve gone through, the more you need someone to be there to lift you up when you drop.

I don’t get how people are okay with not having friends or at least one person they can turn to in their time of need—I know it’s just a front for the gram or Twitter or whatever they want to be on. In the real world, no one likes being alone 24/7. Nobody to love? No relationship? No group trips? No weekend moves? No late-night dinner and movie? Nah. Stop it.

 I just want my people to talk more.

From my family to the strangers at the end of the earth, we need to talk cause we need to let it go. It is not doing us any good to hold it in; it’s not doing us any good to go at it alone; we need to stop exploding. I know, I know, it sucks, but it’ll be so worth it. Scouts honor.

Alley OlivierComment