low down dirty shame…
I remember when I first thought of the idea to start this blog, just the mere idea of doing this gave me extreme anxiety. The stigmas placed on people dealing with all facets of mental health, especially among the Black community, caused me to pump my brakes. Will people think I’m crazy? Who will want to date/love me with this scarlet B (bipolar disorder) on my chest? Will people treat me differently? These were all questions that swirled in my head. Humans have an innate need for acceptance and desire for love. I didn’t want to be ripped away from that by exposing my “secret” and being heaped with shame. Then I had a eureka moment! Why not create a space that connects community that they may not otherwise be able to have?
When I was suffering in silence, I needed to see that I wasn’t alone. I was wishing for community that I thought didn’t exist. It was imperative to see that successful and “normal” people were going through the same feelings. Shame had convinced me that I was a weirdo that needed to just get it together or just end it all. I had reduced my struggles to a personality flaw instead of an illness. Who would want to be friends or love someone so “messed up?” Funny thing is, all the people that really loved and had my best interests at heart, not only stuck by me, but were my fiercest allies. I also discovered that many of the people in my life had similar struggles that they had been keeping inside for the same exact reasons I did, shame.
I thought of something that I hear a lot of old heads say, “No matter what you do, folks gonna talk about you anyway.” A simple statement, but when you face the fact that there will always be people that won’t accept you no matter what, you will be content in wearing your truth. Also realize that the people you think that have it all together are often suffering even more than you, they just happen to be better at hiding it than you. Perfection doesn’t exist and the sooner you embrace this fact, the closer you will be to start peeling off layers of shame. Also, maybe your authenticity will make someone else reach out to you and maybe get the help they need/want. And really, what could feel better than saving another life while saving yours? Not much.