I wrote this piece because I find it hard to grasp that mental disorders and illnesses are not discussed enough within the black community. I believe to teach people with mental illnesses that we love and value them, we have to bring up the topic more, especially in our everyday lives, (and not just in the media when someone does something deemed “crazy” or “psychotic”) and also talk about solutions for the problems at hand. This being said, I hope you enjoy my first opinion piece for the BAG blog!
“Today, right now, at this point in my life, I do believe I can truly say that I’ve been saved by grace.”
I thought this would be a good topic for my first story on the Black&Gifted Blog, because of the topic of mental illness. Dealing with a mental illness is the dickens, because it’s you against your brain. You against every miniscule atom in your brain that isn’t quite “programmed” right. Well, you can look at it as a curse, or, as I have more recently, a blessing. Having bipolar disorder has helped shaped my personality. For all you jokers out there, no, I do not mean multiple personalities lol. But it’s been scientifically proven that there’s a link between bipolar disorder and creative genius. Not to brag, but I’m pretty creative. (Check my website; it doesn’t fit everyone’s taste, but I think it’s pretty dang artsy.) All my life I’ve shown high intelligence, especially when it came to creativity. Like tonight for example. I went to a poetry reading and recited two poems, not written by me. (Gwendolyn Brook’s “We Real Cool” is one of my faves and one of the ones I chose to read tonight). But we were asked to come up with an impromptu haiku. I was able to come up with something in a minute flat. And it’s mostly always been like that. I hate math, can almost cut it in science, but English, history, and the written word were always my strong points.
I was in gifted class at an early age. Then, early onset bipolar hit at about ten. My grades plummeted, I became depressed, became prone to self harm. And it persisted well into my early 20’s. But I wanted to say that when you see absolutely no way out, THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. It’s dim at first, but once you begin to make your way in the darkness, it’s there. And there IS someone holding your hand. I truly believe that God sends angels to surround us in our deepest darkest moments. We just don’t realize it when we are going through. But for all those of you who have considered it, SUICIDE IS NOT THE WAY OUT. I won’t use the old adage that suicide is a cowards way out, because it’s not. It’s a way out for someone who is hurting deeply. But it’s not THE way out. The best way out is through. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it is. If you can come out on the other side of this mess, (and I know you can), you will be damn near invincible and strong. You’ve been to the bottom, so you know what it feels like to have nothing to lose. And with Christ, all things are possible. But this isn’t just a message to Christians. God’s love extends to sinners too. Don’t consider yourself a sinner? Well we all are, Christians included. And Jesus loved us in our mess.
Funny how God speaks sometimes. I had a meeting with someone at a coffee shop today, and that person was late. So I see someone with a bible in their hands. Now, they looked like frat boys, who I am extremely wary of. (Divine 9 members, this isn’t you all, I’m talking about the lighter side of life if you know what I mean). But I just happened to notice the bible. Turns out, they were having a bible study and I decided to join them. I don’t think this was a chance meeting, because as soon as they were done, I was able to sell some earrings to a group of ladies sitting nearby to make some quick cash. Right after that, the friend I was meeting with walked in. God has perfect timing. Your time will come to get out of the storm. Until then, hold tight to those silver linings.
If you or someone you know is going through an especially tough time, feel free to contact me through the Black&Gifted Blog and I’ll respond back with the best advice based on my experience with having a mental disorder.