How Do You Process Your Mental Health As A Black Person?


Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash


This post contains sensitive information about mental health and trauma, if you need help please reach out.

When I started on Medium, the first post I wrote was about Black Mental Health, and I didn’t fulfill my destiny of being The Black One, to talk about mental health, mainly because I was processing my own grief.

For years I told myself lies about my abusers to help me deal with what was happening to me. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve been raped more than 30 times, by as many rapists and abusers.

I’ve been through a lot. Yes, I am still here, but it was very much like climbing a snowy mountain barefoot. It was difficult, it was scary, it was hard.

When it comes to processing my own grief, I cry a lot. I cry because it helps me to release the shit that I am holding onto. When I had the space and the time and the money, I painted. I also danced, and sometimes I sing along to the music I am listening to.

I reach out to my friends, we talk about what we’re going through, we share our work, our grief, our pain, and our joy, and we connect with each other. We can’t go for walks together and hang out in person, so we lean on Zoom in order to check in on each other.

We support each other, but not everyone has that. It can be really difficult to trust people when you’ve been hurt and traumatized. It’s like a kitten whose been kicked; she’ll come back more than a thousand times, but a thousand and one that kitten is going to bite back. Lots of us are between 1 and 1000. We may not be ready to bite back, but we do know what it feels like to be kicked and beaten down.

Here are some (seemingly silly but helpful) ways to get your self-confidence back after being in a traumatic situation.

Take It One Step at A Time

Okay, so you have mental health issues. That’s okay. This is dealable. You can survive, you can thrive, and you can have all the nice romantic beautiful love filled things, even with mental health issues, but step one is acknowledging that you know you have mental health issues. Step two is learning how to deal with them.

You have mental health issues and so do I, but what might work for you, might not work for me, or might not be something I am capable of. However, when you find the things and the coping mechanisms that work for you, the world changes. Find the thing that anchors you to this earth so that you can keep doing the work you were promised you’d have time to do. Fight for your life by learning how to live your life differently.

Talk about it.

Find people who you can be safe with. Whether it’s a close friend or ally, a parent or guardian, or a teacher or therapist, do the work it takes to find a space — or build a space — where you can speak on what you are going through, not just because you shouldn’t have to do it alone, but because you need a release. Releasing what we’re going through, means we don’t have to hold onto it alone anymore.

Dance About It

You’ve heard the phrase “joyful movement,” popping up on social media lately. That’s because a lot of people when they are sad or upset find peace and solace in dancing. Dancing is a way to communicate with the world without using your voice. It’s a way of saying that you’re feeling something, and dance can be transformative. It’s not going to solve all your problems overnight, but it will help you connect to your body and the energy around you, and this may lead to positive changes in your life.

Connect To Your Higher Power

Connect to your source; to the part of yourself that makes the world make sense. For some people that might be God, for others it might be the Goddess, for others, it might be an ancient ascended Master from a different faith or it might be an ancestor. But sit and listen and spend time meditating on what your higher power might say to your questions.

For me, it’s my Krisya Ohana, my spiritual family. When I am struggling I call out to them and I hear their answers in my head and my heart.

Not everyone has a higher power, and not everyone needs one. This is just one of the things that work for me.

These are just some of the ways that I have learned to cope. And while my life might not be what I want it to be, because of my mental health issues, they won’t stop me from going where I’m meant to go because I continuously decide, repeatedly every day, that I am going to keep moving forward.

It’s not always an easy decision, and it’s not always a fun decision, but it is always a decision that “I” make, that “I” have control over, and no one can take that from me.

I hope I was able to help. In the link above and here as well, there is a list of phone numbers from around the world where you can reach out and ask for help if you need it.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall, The Loud Mouth Brown Girl

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Devon J Hall @LoudMouthBrownGirl
CRY Magazine

2 Time Self-Published Author, Devon J Hall brings honest relatable content to you weekly