Posted in advocacy, Community, Emotions, Freedom, Late Night Thoughts, Peer Support, psychology

Civil Rights Movement 2020

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

This is the slogan circulating social media as I speak.

Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, NYC,Atlanta, Minneapolis, Memphis, Louisville. The list continues.

I posted yesterday about the importance of African American mental health support in a time when we are watching ourselves get killed across social media, in a time that is eerily similar to the civil rights movement of 2020–except that now we have video.

Now we have PROOF.

We can watch the brutality, watch the racism, watch the hatred.

We can see the anger, the violence, the threats that result from hundreds of years of oppressive social states.

I think popular opinion is that protesting is okay but looting is overkill. I refuse to take a stance on this because the level of internal anguish that comes from generational trauma cannot be overlooked because a Target burned down.

I do not wish harm on anyone, be it protester, officer, or store clerk. We must keep our focus. We MUST remember the message and focus less on the damage we can cause. Every human can cause destruction. It takes someone truly enlightened to channel that hurt and anger into a passionate, effective message.

I have been crying for hours.

A 19 year old man was killed by officers in a San Jose protest. I live 45 minutes from San Jose. Our protests will be happening this weekend.

I have been crying for hours.

I wonder what George Floyd sees, if he can watch us from the other realm. I don’t know much about him other than community members describing him as a kind, generous man. Was his death what we needed? Is this what transitions our country into a time of healing? We thought change would come with Trump and it indeed has: it’s brought disorganization, divide, and racism to the forefront of our consciousness. This is the 2020 vision we all thought it would be.

I have been crying for hours.

There are videos of eight year old african-american children crying for equality in a room full of people, speaking to adults in charge.

I have been crying for hours.

I don’t think the feelings can be properly explained. I have been feeling invaded and attacked, my paranoia surfacing strong. I am feeling that Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram have been hacking my cell phone because of the message I am spreading. I am trending in social media on Instagram for videos I have found online of necessary violence against protesters who AREN’T looting.

There is an undeniable connection between all of us African-american’s right now. It seems we are always united in pain.

That’s painful.

When this ends, will we go back to killing each other in the name of “honor” or “reputation” in the streets? When this ends, will our style, culture, and way of being in the world be imitated and copied still by musicians, influences, and celebrities who have been SILENT in the face of this revolution? When this ends, will we encourage our kids to be more involved in politics? When this ends, will we still have to identify ourselves as black Americans? Or will we be called simply “Americans?”

When this ends, will we still be united?

What can we do to lift each other up after this? We can’t just destroy buildings and black-owned businesses.

We are always united in pain. How can we maintain our unification in revelation?

I am 24 years old, my birthday in 2 weeks. My father is 61 years old, and was just a kid during the 1960’s civil rights movement. He has been arrested illegally for a robbery he didn’t commit and spent a year in jail until they found out they were wrong. He’s spent his life fighting racist citizens and cops and community to the point that he sleeps with a hunting knife near and is always worried about getting into a fight or someone bursting in our door.

It’s my turn now to experience a racial revolution, to participate, and to find my identity. I am a light-skinned African-American who has been profiled by police, given unjustified tickets, had back-up and four cops called on her while she was simply sitting in the car, hands very visible on the steering wheel. I did not breathe. I grew up in a school with maybe 4 black students, and went on to a college that catered only to Hispanic students (for the record this wasn’t a problem, many Hispanic students need the help, but so do the black students who are systematically underprivileged compared to even Hispanic students).

My chest is tight. I can’t imagine living in the 50s, the 20s, the 1800s.

I’m mixed race; I would have been a product of rape and an eventual sexual object used for humiliation and, in my adulthood, a symbol of rape.

I can’t imagine living in the United States in any other time than this one.

I’d be dead.

Instagram: @written_in_the_photo

Twitter: @philopsychotic

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Posted in advocacy, Emotions, Freedom, Late Night Thoughts, Peer Support, psychology, Supporting Friends/Family, Uncategorized

Mental Health And African-American LIves

There was not a Mental Health Month post on Thursday for Somatic Disorders as I anticipated, not because I ran out of time but because my mind has been engrossed in other disturbing realities and going-ons in America. I will do a post on Somatic Disorders soon. But firstly, we need to discuss something.

For all the mental health websites and advocate pages on Instagram who are American-run and have not mentioned ONE DAMN THING about the riots in Louisville, Kentucky and Minneapolis, Minnesota right now, you should be ashamed of yourselves. ASHAMED.

How dare you claim to be an advocate of mental health and not bring to light the racial issues that are not only causing MORE trauma for today’s generation of colored folks, but is fueled also by the generational trauma of our ancestors.

I am a mixed race individual; my father is African American and my mother is Caucasian. I am light skinned, often mistaken for Mexican, and my mental health and physical health has been impacted by this. Doctors are less attentive. They don’t listen properly. They accuse me of drug use in the middle of my panic attacks.

For African American people in America, there is a lot of grief. There is a lot of trauma, a lot of loss, a lot of pain. We feel unsafe, unheard, tossed aside. That births anger, rage, and perpetuates violence. With the recent murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Abery and Breonna Taylor (George and Breonna murdered by police; George was already on the ground with three cops on top of him and Breonna was IN HER HOUSE), all of these feelings and this connection we have to each other is growing stronger. Violence is happening because of the angst of hundreds of years of BULLSHIT.

So the fact that so many pages are claiming to talk about Mental Health and are avoiding this issue for political reasons I suspect makes me sick to my stomach. Until this is addressed in all facets, nothing will change. As social media has been circulating: No Justice, No Peace.

Not only does blatantly ignoring this subject aide in the problem rather than the solution, it also sends the message that those of us in the american mental health system who are dark don’t matter as much. We don’t need to talk about this collective pain we feel right now because your page can’t afford arguments in the comments.

I say affectionately, FUCK YOU.

Get off your fucking high horse.

Remember when I said I have made very frank posts on my previous blog? This is one of them.

Get off your fucking high horse and recognize that the deaths of these people, the murders of these people, affect African-American people across this nation. My anxiety, my grief, my voices, my paranoia have all doubled because of what I see happening to the people who are part of my ancestral family. I feel the same for the Native Americans who are hit the hardest with COVID-19 and receiving absolutely no help, except a box of body bags rather than PPE. Part of my family is Native to North America and their suffering has only added to my grief.

This IS a mental health topic. Racism IS a mental health topic. Not because racism is a disorder, but because how it effects people dictates their mental states. To advocate at this time for mental health without reminding followers and subscribers that people of color are collectively struggling mentally with this, to the point that VICE has to be the one magazine to offer self-care tips for African Americans, IS SELFISH.

It’s SELFISH to ignore this as a mental health topic.

I’ve been sick to my stomach all day, lost in my thoughts and my pain and watching Minnesota burn down their police station.

If we truly are all in this together, then where is your support for the black community right now? Where is your acknowledgement of our mental health in a time when we are watching ourselves get killed? Somewhere up your ass?

Good Night.

Posted in Freedom, Peer Support

This Is How We End Stigma

If there’s anything I’m leaving behind in 2019, it’s the teenaged, damaged version of me. I’m leaving behind immaturity and replacing it with realistic observation and contemplation. I’m respecting the graves of my trauma, enough that I can finally leave the cemetery. I’m not looking for anything in 2020. I will understand myself better and I will reach the potential I’ve always had. I will be turning 25 in 2020.

I started my old blog Mental Truths in July 2015. My last post was sometime early 2019. As I read through old posts, I realized how lost and confused and disconnected I was. It was mental health rants sprinkled with a hint of actual coherent thought.

And what I’ve learned between July 2015 and December 2019 is that the complexities of life are not only beautiful, they are terrifying. I learned there is nothing inherently wrong with terror and fear. I learned we often allow ourselves to be controlled by these primal reactions to life. I learned how our body and mind respond to life is dependent on more factors than neurotransmitters or trauma.

I went from an anti-psychiatry extremist to someone who sees more division within the mental health community than in those outside of the community who move against us or refuse to accept us. I learned Stigma is real and also bullshit.

We self-stigmatize more than others stigmatize us. We hold our struggles against others, as if the entire world doesn’t suffer in some way at some point. As if our personal struggle is so great that family, friends, partners, should put our health before their own, and if they don’t, they’re being “unreasonable” or they “don’t care”. As if everything revolves around us.

As if we must force people to accept us. We don’t.

People won’t accept us until we accept ourselves. Until we stop pretending the experience of voices and visions hold more pain and torment and severity than the experience of anxiety and panic. Until we recognize we all hurt.

This holds true for any inequality. I am mixed race, my father is African American, my mother is Caucasian, with her family having immigrated from Poland. Much of my life has been dictated by a cultural identity crisis. I didn’t fit in with the white kids, I didn’t fit in with the black kids, and I felt like I had to fit in with one of them. I was the only non-Hispanic in a college prep class that was supposed to be specified toward low-income, first generation college bound students. Instead, it was geared toward brown students who had a pretty good home life and high income. It took four years for them to integrate other races. And by other races, I mean two white kids.

And so I was very angry. I was sick of watching movies and documentaries in my college prep class ONLY dedicated toward brown students. I was sick of teachers handing me Spanish instructions for my parents and looking at me weird when I said I didn’t speak Spanish.

I felt erased. I felt degraded. Invisible. Ignored. And this is the result of a culture believing pain has hierarchy. A culture that thinks every little mention of skin color or inequality is fulfilling a racist culture. A culture where “you don’t look/act schizophrenic” is actually a sentence that’s uttered.

I had a right to be angry. But looking back, I placed myself on a pedestal. That “I’m more disadvantaged than you” type of superiority that seems to plague every ethnicity and every culture in some way.

Fear is a strong emotion. And psychological research has shown in countless studies that we often misinterpret our own feelings and signals we receive from our body. What may be fear may register as anger or sadness or even arousal. Looking back, I know now that I feared everything not because I didn’t fit in, but because I didn’t know myself. Sometimes arrogance and superiority becomes a barrier against the world.

And that’s happening in the mental health community. We fear our experiences often, we fear the thought of never “getting better”, we fear rejection and misunderstanding. And so we strive to prove we are sick. We strive to prove we are in pain, that we suffer, and in the middle of that battle we engage in friendly fire.

I’ve spent the last three years working on my fear. I was tired of being a prisoner and being sick meant I was a prisoner. Being “okay against my will” as one singer puts it, meant I was a prisoner. And so I dove into fear and terrified myself. I stopped being okay and in not being okay I became even better than okay.

What the mental health community needs right now isn’t stupid stigma campaigns.

What changes would we see in our wonderfully versatile, talented, and strong community if we were to stop seeing ourselves as the broken branches on the tree of society? What changes would we see if we stopped calling ourselves sick and instead called ourselves varied? Experienced? Raw? If we see ourselves as fully human, fully capable, intelligent, fierce, and in a lot of pain, the world will follow.

The world can understand pain. Let’s not make it any more complicated than that.

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