Reflecting on Karyn Washington’s Death and why it is important to remember.

For as long as I can remember in my family, the subject of mental health was taboo. On both sides there were more people that didn’t talk about it than those who did. I’ m not sure if it was a lack of understanding or if they didn’t want to know. Being that I am from a Christian family (both sides) I often heard it said that all “such and such” needed to do was pray. Or people that know Jesus shouldn’t have depression, mental health issues etc. Well you know what People that know and love Jesus shouldn’t have cancer, be obese, have a cold, the flu or any other thing that deals with the body. I don’t know why it is so hard for Us to understand that mental health issues exist and can come knocking on our door.

In the African American community the issue of mental health is still taboo. To talk of it is to deny the power of Jesus, or put “White people’s issues” on black folks. I truly believe that God is a healer, I also believe that He has placed people in our lives an spheres of understanding to be His eyes and ears and to help those of us who need it.

I would say that I was in that crowd before I had my own issues with mental health. I distinctly remember that time in my life like it was yesterday. For months I had been walking around with what I thought was  chip on my shoulder; I would flip on you in a matter of seconds. I could be in a great mood one moment and in a really foul mood the next. It seemed that  there was no in between.  For months maybe longer it went on like this. People were afraid to talk to me, no one dared tell me what they thought of my behavior; and from what I remember no one thought maybe I was depressed or having mental health issues. Finally one person asked me if I was bi-polar. I didn’t want to accept that diagnosis, but I DID own up to the fact that mentally I wasn’t right. I was in a bad place. I prayed for deliverance AND made the decision to go and get help. I owed it to my daughter to make sure she had a whole mother.

It was through this experience that I decided to go into psychology. I KNEW that God had made us mind, body and spirit; THUS I KNEW that mental health problems had very real spiritual and physical component. You could not treat one without treating the other….to be continued.

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