How I Use Art to Cope with Depression & Anxiety

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.

Many persons I know who deal with depression, anxiety, or both, often say that they’re not sure what their coping mechanisms should be. Often times they can only think of bad coping mechanisms such as, drinking, smoking, or causing self harm to themselves. However, there are better things you can do to cope. Mine, happens to be writing.

Art overall is a huge thing for me. Though writing is my go to artform, sometimes I draw abstract pieces as well. Doing these tend to get my mind off of my own thoughts. I’m forced to simply focus on how I went this poem or drawing to go, so I have no time or space in my mind to be consumed by the negative thoughts that linger.

Many times it’s difficult to stay motivated to actually produce a piece of art. This is something I notice a lot of creators have issues with as well. For me, poetry is a routine, it comes natural. Whenever I feel down, I immediately grab my laptop, phone, or pen and paper. It took time, lots of it, and lots of practice as well. When I just began writing as a coping mechanism, I found it hard to completely focus on just that. But now, I don’t even have to think about it.

Let me tell you, all you have to do, is train yourself. But how should you do that?

It’s more simple than it may seem honestly. When you’re not even dealing with negative thoughts, you should write. Sometimes there is a lack of inspiration, but what I do is this – always keep a list of topics/potential titles to write about. That way, when you’re lacking inspiration, you can look at your list and you may have an idea to actually write on something you once saw.

When you train yourself to constantly write, it will come to you as a natural thing to do regularly, whether you’re feeling down or not.

Your coping mechanism may not be the same as mine, but the thought process behind it is the same. Hopefully what works for me, could possibly work for you. If you wish to discuss it, you can send me a dm on Instagram (@dom.thepoet).

Until next time.

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.

Why These Statements Are Offensive to People of Color

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.

People of Color, especially Blacks, have constantly been faced with actions and statements that are quite offensive, and some even very racist. The individuals saying them, however, don’t realize why it’s offensive. Therefore, they come to the conclusion that we are overreacting and it’s because of the color of our skin why we are so angry, of course, that’s the famous black trait – anger.

If you are also a person of color, then for sure you’ll be able to relate and understand why at times you feel angry or a tad bit pissed off when things are said to you.

If you aren’t a person of color, use this as a guide for what you should or shouldn’t say to POC.

“You’re so pretty for a black girl.” / “You’re the prettiest black girl I’ve ever met/seen.”

This statement isn’t only said by non-POC, but unfortunately, some POC say it too, not realizing how offensive they are being. This is offensive because it makes it seem as though all/most black girls are ugly and they are the one exception. To the POC who say this to darker-skinned women, telling her that she’s beautiful even though she’s so dark, that is NOT a compliment.

“Since *another black person* can do *this* then you can do it too, right?”

This is such a terrible generalization so it should be obvious just how offensive it is, yet it is still done. Just because one or few persons of a certain race can do something, doesn’t’t mean that they can all do it. Being black, white, asian, etc., we are all still individuals with different skill sets.

“Are you real/full black?”

This.. is a NO NO. You may be curious to find out whether a person is mixed with another race or not, but this is not the way to go about it. Even if they are mixed with white, or another race, asking if they are REAL black makes it seem as though they won’t be real if they are mixed. Whether mixed or not, POC are still that.. POC.

Unfortunately, there are many other phrases that could be mentioned, but for now, we’ll still with these. Who knows, maybe I’ll do a part 2. Hopefully you learned something and can apply it to your life.

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.

The ‘Voice’ Behind ‘The Thought Banc’

Written by Dominique Bancey

It’s one thing to read an article or two from a complete stranger on the internet, but it’s another thing when you actually feel as though you know the person, or are acquainted with them.

That is why I’ve decided to write a simple introductory article, so that whoever comes across this column, will actually feel as though they have some form of connection with me and won’t entirely view me as just some stranger on the internet.

Of course, you already know my name from seeing it, however, what you don’t know, is that I actually don’t go by ‘Dominique’, most persons call me ‘Dom’ simply because it’s shorter, easier to remember and it makes me more comfortable.

 

How old do you think I am?

I am actually quite young. It’s a surprise to many when they hear my age because apparently I am extremely mature based on the way how I speak, write and carry myself. When some persons find out my age, they then proceed to underestimate my talent and passion. I think I will actually keep this one a secret for now, until another time maybe.

One thing that will definitely cause many of you somewhat feel more acquainted with me, is through what I like to do for fun, my hobbies. Well, it all depends on what you think of as fun. My fun, doesn’t tend to be fun for many other individuals I come across (maybe I’m just boring? Who knows).

I absolutely love poetry, whether to be the one writing it or even just reading it. I also love playing video games, lately I’ve been a bit stuck on Fortnite (ugh I know it’s everywhere right now, almost everyone’s playing it). Otherwise, I enjoy playing any sporting games like FIFA, 2K, etc. or fighting games like God of War. I’m not much of a party person, however, I will go to a few parties here and there.

I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Jamaica. I currently still reside there, however, I tend to travel quite a lot. I lived in the state of North Carolina for a year, and overall I’ve visited eight (8) states in the USA. I hope to start traveling to some countries in Europe as soon as possible and when I do, I will most definitely write about that and let you guys know what my time there is like.

I may give a more detailed article on more things about me and exactly who I am another time, but for now, I hope you now feel as though I’m less of a stranger, and more of an acquaintance and eventually a friend.

 

Until next time.