What to do if your mental health is interfering with your ability to participate in progress
A Crash Course in “Crazy”
I don’t like the word “Crazy” because it underestimates the fortitude of mental illness.
Often mental illness is thought of as a mask for an individual’s entitled lack of energy or compassion.
When I speak of mental illness, I am discussing a biological problem: An imbalance of hormones (chemical messengers in the nervous system) that works to eventually ruin an individual’s ability to interact rationally with their environment which often means that the individual’s behavioural reactivity is abnormal.
In other words: We are chemically challenged to stay grounded in reality.
There are many types and sub-types of mental illness but, for the most part, it involves the individual internalizing a mere impression of reality which leads to them feeling generally rejected or alienated from society or, for the sake of this article, let’s say community.
The result is often a version of helplessness which leads to behaviours that are further alienating. Cycle, cycle, cycle. All of a sudden, goodbye human, hello horror freak.
I Feel A Privileged Struggle to Stay Engaged With The Challenges Of Reality
In the wake of communal uprising, I don’t know how to contribute and I feel, frankly, like trash.
FUCK I AM not moving, head is a bowling ball, throat is vibrating, and I am pressure-crying constantly.
I know there are large systemic injustices occurring around me, around the world, but I can’t help obsessing over myself: I am stupid for not being a better person sooner, everything I write and everything I have written is valueless, there is no point in continuing and, as I understand it, I’ve been given far more in life than I even deserve so wouldn’t it be ultimately charitable for me to just give it all away and disappear….
So I keep thinking that.
And I keep thinking it over and over again.
But then, a rush of energy, I go hunting for information and links and lectures, videos, articles.
I try learning. I try passing along information. I try being small. Signing petitions. Learning about new organizations. Giving.
After about twenty minutes, I have to drop my phone.
Does this sound familiar?
I don’t know, maybe I’m alone, I have no idea because I don’t want to talk to anyone anymore.
I don’t want to face anyone. I don’t want to know that there is community. I don’t want to know that there are other people. Because I am not a person, I am a horror freak. I cycle in and out. I’m not really here.
Do I want to give back to the community? Yes! Ok! What is my community? Me Me Me My My fucking bi polar panic bullshit disease and I know that it’s my white privilege that protects my indulgences into silence and exhaustion and self-pity.
So I get back on the phone for twenty minutes.
Until it becomes about me again and I have to stop. Cycle cycle cycle I am a monster freak.
I feel sick writing this and yeah I I I I have feelings me me my my but, just in case someone else somewhere is feeling like a waste…
You’re not a waste, you’re just not 100% here. And until you come back to Here, you won’t be able to help the people you want to help.
That’s what I keep telling myself.
Here’s something that helps me feel less “crazy”:
I write pages in a notebook about myself, because that’s the illness, a complete focus on myself, so, ok, that’s where I start.
After a number of pages (I choose 6 but that’s because I am really obsessed with myself right now) I try to turn around my writing so that it’s less about myself and more about the objects in front of me, the table, chair, tree, like I’m painting them with words.
Soon you can, Turn on the TV, turn on the news, some picture, some article and keep writing. What do you see? What do you hear? Just describe it and if you dip into thoughts of yourself, keep describing it.
I don’t think we can help today. I think we can help as soon as we can help which is likely as soon as we can take things less personally.
I’m sorry you have an illness.
It is not a privilege to have an illness.
It’s really shitty and constantly almost fatal and embarrassing and rough.
Stay close to yourself and try, when you approach the real world, try to bring along a means of observing without making it about You. Write, speak into your phone, tell a friend, just: Describe the matter.
Links to Institutions that focus on issues of Mental Health in BIPOC Communities.
All accepting donations
Mental Health Commission of Canada–working to improve mental health services, supports and policies for diverse populations
Substance Abuse Program For African Canadian and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY) –provides support and counselling to African and Caribbean Canadian youth who are dealing with problem substance use and mental health concerns.
Across Boundaries–provides equitable, holistic mental health and addiction services for racialized communities.
Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (Cafcan)— primary focus is on building and strengthening the service framework for African Canadians through the use of psycho-social Interventional approaches.
Taibu Community Health Center–focuses on Black mental health and well being.
Black Health Alliance–a community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada
Many links pulled from BlogTO
For additional information about mental health in the BIPOC community, these articles are fantastic.
THE UNITED STATES
The Asian Mental Health Project–exists to prevent Asian individuals from the fear and guilt that are often associated with mental illness.
QTPOC Mental Health–a grassroots trans-led organization with the stated mission of “creating online and offline spaces for trans & queer people of color to practice being their whole selves” founded by Dom Chatterjee.
The Loveland Foundation— provides high quality, culturally competent services during COVID-19 and beyond.
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Colour Network–is a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of colour.
Brown Girl Therapy–founded so that those who hail from immigrant backgrounds—especially South Asians, first-gens, hyphenates, and women of colour—had a place to learn more about therapy and identity exploration.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation–working to change the perception of mental illness in the Black community