The trouble with becoming this new version of me, who actually goes through all her feels, is going through ALL the feels. Granted my emotions may be a tad exaggerated because I´ve been swerving and dodging through anything that gave any slight indication that it would make me vulnerable.
Why is it so hard for me to admit I am in a vulnerable state without feeling as though my strength is being questioned? Why is it so hard to speak on my struggles without having to put on a fake strong front.
The last couple of months of my life have revealed some fallacies in my character because as much as I appear to be carefree, when things that I care about go wrong, I care PLENTY. Yes- I have the ability to detach easily from situations that threaten my peace of mind, however, that superpower does not work as effectively when it involves my whole heart. In instances such as these, I struggle with the intensity of my concentrated emotions in ways I don´t know how to articulate. The only option I feel I have in these moments, is to pretend. I pretend so well that often, I also believe my pretense that when my authentic feelings show up, I am taken back and desperately scurry down deeper down the dark hole of pretense.
Where does this need to pretend come from? Is it because as an African woman, I inherently carried the fear of imperfection that is passed down from generations of exemplary strong black women? How can I let you know about the sadness, anxiety and melancholy that dwells in the depths of my heart if that then softens me and doesn´t display me as strong. I ´Instagram filter´ those things and pack them up in my box of untouched realities.
Do I pretend because as a black woman, the struggles we face, force us to live in a state of defense and defiance. Constantly fighting for our right to be treated as something more which inevitably leads us to avoid the potential harsh truths which lay in the admittance that our situations and circumstances make us prone to being victims of mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder or something seemingly less daunting but equally important – anxiety and panic disorders? How can we seek help for something we work so hard to distance ourselves from?
According to the US HHS OFFICE OF MINORITY HEALTH;
- Adult Black/African Americans are 20% more likely to report psychological distress than adult whites
- Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness than are adult whites
- Black/African Americans are less likely than white people to die from suicide as teenagers but Black/African American teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than white teenagers. (8.3% vs 6.2%)