Getting a Diagnosis is Not a Bad Thing
Growing up, my family went to the doctor like everyone else. We did regular wellness visits, school physicals, sick visits etc. The one thing we never really knew about or talked about was the wellness of our minds aka mental health. We just believed that so and so was just that way. Or they were just going through a phase. But sometimes it wasn’t a phase. Symptoms of rapid mental health decline were present. And because of our our belief systems, we e did not recognize the signs. For example, when I was depressed in high school, I slept excessively and became extremely withdrawn. I was cutting and begging my mom to let me skip school. I was not my “normal” self. Or like when my sister started talking in word salads and exhibited erratic behavior, we just went a long with it. Even though it was extreme. Sometimes we even laughed about what was going on. We didn’t question if something was mentally happening that was causing a shift. And that could have ended badly.
From a culture perspective, a lot of black families hold onto mistrust of the medical system. And this is rightfully so in America. If you have not heard about the Tuskegee trials, ask Siri or one of them and they can tell you. Anyway many black people are also very spiritual and tell you to pray about things. Or they may believe there is a spirit or demon binding to you. And if you are lucky enough to have immigrant parents from Jamaica like myself, you might get some old school remedies like tea leaves or some white rum slapped on your chest. That will definitely open up your sinuses.
But on a serious note, it wasn’t until I moved to Seattle and recognized that within me, there was something not quite right and I sought to fix it. I went to a doctor and got some meds. I sought out therapists but apparently my issues were too much for some of the practices I went to. One pretty much just took the intake money and said they couldn’t help me. Another therapist didn’t even know which patient I was and began talking about someone else. Like geez at least know the patient your talking to. But that’s another story. I did get medicine at one point but cold-turkeyed myself off of it. I’ll be honest, I don’t necessarily trust medicine, especially since the side effects were shitty. Literally. I’ll. Never advise people to not take medicine though. See help. If help means therapy, do it. If it means yoga and meditation. Go for it. Help could even mean finding time to workout and destress and taking medicine. There is no one way to advocate for yourself when it come to taking care of your mind. Once you lose that battle you pretty much have nothing left. And that’s the real tragedy. This world will wear you the fuck out one way or another. So make sure you’re taking the best care of yourself. You deserve it.