How to Deal With Having a Mental Illness

Written by Dominique Bancey– Dominique Bancey is the writer of our new column The Thought Banc, where she writes on all things mental health and black culture.

Having a mental illness is a very serious thing. Many individuals have one, or a mixture of some, and they don’t even know. Others are aware that they have it, but either they aren’t sure how to deal with it, or they actually don’t want to. There isn’t a straight and narrow way to deal with mental illnesses. There isn’t a perfect, dictionary way to go about it. Some things work for some people, while others just don’t.

Even though it may be hard to deal with it, you still have to cope with it. Here are some tips to follow, whether you’re the one with a mental illness, or you know someone who does:

Don’t allow others to belittle/look down on you.

When dealing with a mental illness, you already tend to belittle/look down on yourself, so then it’s even easier for others to do so. However, you having a mental illness doesn’t give anyone the permission to treat you worse than how you’re already feeling. Many times you’re flattered by the attention you receive from the individual, and they may tell you the exact things you want to hear, but if you do realize that they are treating you badly, let them go.

Find someone who accepts you.
Having someone who fully understands (or tries to understand) is a huge thing for someone with a mental illness. It’s the worst when you find someone, only for them to shatter your heart because they aren’t willing to be there for you. Be careful with who you let in, so they cannot damage you.
Get support.
Whether through a support group, or simply speaking with a therapist/someone you feel comfortable with, do so. Many times you’ll feel like you don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling. But you’d be surprised as to just how much you’ll talk about it when you’re completely comfortable.

Living with a mental illness is a struggle, especially when you’re doing it on your own. There are many other ways to cope and somewhat deal with your illness, these three (3) are just a start. I hope this helped in some way for you.

Until next time.

I Can’t Just “Get Over It” – Yes I Suffer From A Mental Illness

Written by Dominique Bancey

If you are an individual who has a mental illness, then I’m sure you’ve heard this at least once throughout your life, I know for sure I’ve heard it more times than I can even remember. The thing is, when you are someone without a mental illness, it may seem so simple to you, but it’s really not.

If you are one of those persons who tells a friend/family member/loved one, to just “get over it” when they vent to you about their mental illness, you have something to learn.

First off, simply telling them to get over it, is a slap in the face to them. They begin to doubt themselves and their existence even more because now they think that their problems aren’t a big deal and they’re just overreacting. That may not be how you wanted or expected them to feel, but that’s how it comes across.

Depression, anxiety, etc., is more than just a feeling or emotion.

I suffer from depression, social anxiety and insomnia. Nowadays I realize that whenever people can’t sleep they just throw around the word insomnia. “Oh I can’t sleep, I have insomnia.” It’s way more than that, but they don’t know that. Personally, I didn’t have issues with insomnia until my depression decided to show its face.

 

Depression, for me, is sudden. Out of nowhere, my mood changes, I feel absolutely helpless, I don’t want to do anything anymore, I don’t want to be alive. For someone to tell me to just get over it, hurts me because I wish it was that simple. Depression comes with no warning signs. It just attacks and takes over. There is no root to say, oh I’m depressed because of blah blah blah, NO. I’m just depressed because I am and I can’t jump over it or crawl under it.

It’s the cruel truth, but it’s life.

 This topic was more personal for me more than anything, hopefully a few lessons were learned.

 

Until next time.

Taraji P. Henson Is Dedicated To Bringing Awareness To Mental Health

With mental health being one of the most important aspects of our well being, yet one of the least talked about, we are glad to see more celebrities speaking out and bringing more awareness to it. Taraji P. Henson is doing her part to release the stigma associated with mental health, especially in the African American community. On September 22, the actress will officially launch the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her father who suffered from mental health issues.

She stated “I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues. “My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support. I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”
This raises the question of what role do celebrities have at ending the stigma associated with mental health, not just in the African American community, but in general. How much of a responsibility can we put on them, without pointing the finger at ourselves? I’m sure there are many of us with friends and family suffering from various mental health. How often do we check on them or offer assistance? Something for us all to think about.

If Michelle Williams Can Get Help With Her Depression Can I?

Written by Tianna Sheree Maxon

I am so very proud of singer Michelle Williams. The steps she has taken to let everyone know that she was dealing with depression is such a brave thing to me. I often wish more celebrities would use their platform to help raise awareness for people dealing with depression. There are so many of us dealing with similar feelings and not expressing it.  Michelle is showing women that it is ok to get help. She is showing she is dealing with similar situations no matter how much money she may have. Though I admire what Michelle did, I also understand that it may not be as easy for myself or others to take those same steps towards getting help.

Michelle is beautiful and very talented. She is a key member of one of the world’s biggest girl groups in the world. Let’s be real she had worked next to Beyoncé. One of the greatest entertainers in the world. Clearly Beyoncé sees greatness in her as well. Yet Michelle has been talked about since she joined the group. There is never a moment someone doesn’t state how Michelle was off beat, or the “poor Michelle” comments. With a career like hers, no one should ever feel bad for her. She is also engaged to the man of her dreams. Michelle shows that no matter how beautiful, talented, rich or in love you are, depression is real.  It truly takes knowing yourself and having people who know you around.

I have once thought about checking myself in a hospital and getting help. I’m sure many have thought about going to see therapist, or taking a long mental break when everything seems to hit at once. I think about how easy or hard it would be. One thing Michelle has is a strong bond with her family and friends. Though my family is around, I can honestly say that I’m not sure if they would be as supportive. I need them to be supportive now while I’m dealing and not when I deicide to check myself into a mental hospital. What would people think of me if I did check myself into a hospital? I think about who would pay my bills. Heck my bills may be adding to the depression lol. For real! Who is not stressed trying to make it in life. I can’t afford to take a break, or take some time to speak with someone.

Over all we have to understand ourselves and what we as individuals need. I have to understand that I am not famous and there may be a sigma place on me. Should I care? No, just get help the best way I can. Not caring who is with me, but also keep those who truly are. No one has time to be depressed. Everyone should have the chance to live a happy life and their best life. Thank you Michelle for starting a conversation and bring awareness. Get well soon!