Chapter(s) with Cedric Gum Vol 5. You cray?


I’m not CRAZY...just frequently temporarily imbalanced and likely to go from 0 to 100, hot to cold, super nice to super bitchy without warning.

But crazy? Never!

Well, that’s what I like to tell myself. When you’ve had the experiences that I’ve had, you’ll tell yourself whatever it takes to help you sleep better at night. That, for me, places me on a bed of feathers, engulfed in a magical cloud of sleep with a slight chance of dreams.

Ahhhhhh *enter dream here*

But, onto a more serious note.

Mental health is something that I didn’t pay attention to until after my diagnosis. I started to see a change in my habits and overall mood and responses to situations and I knew something was not right. The once loving and outgoing little boy was now and angry and easily frustrated man. My shift in moods went from hot to cold in a matter of minutes. I let that go on for about a year before actually seeing a therapist…and a psychiatrist! Depression and chronic anxiety. Those are serious. I don’t think people understand the severity of either one of those. Studies show that at any point in time, 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depression; the lifetime risk is about 17 percent. A major cause of suicide is mental illness, very commonly depression. Those jokes and those laugh it off moments...sometimes that's someone's cry for help. That silence and that quickness to detach can be the loudest scream you'd ever hear if you pay attention to those who may need just a little bit more of your attention.

“Black people don’t go to therapists or psychiatrists; they go to church!” I was consumed with a lot of fear and confusion about the journey to self-care and mental and emotional restoration. Yeah, the south will screw you up if you let it.

Someone’s mood changes and they are automatically labeled as crazy or bipolar. Yeah, I’m sure we have all been that person before. Even growing up, the phrase “he or she is crazy” was something I never quite understood, but I used it quite often. It wasn’t until I took the time to dissect what that phrase truly does to a person that I stopped using it to describe who a person is. Don’t get me wrong, I still use it jokingly with friends in the most light-hearted moments. However, from a professional standpoint, I don’t further perpetuate the stigma attached to it by using it to describe a person’s overall mental state.

People go through and process things differently. For me, I didn’t know how to handle anything. Silence! Yeah, not saying anything works. “Keep telling yourself that. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll convince yourself.” That wasn’t possible for me. The silence only maximized the depression and anxiety. The first few sessions were rough because I was being forced (not really) to talk about things that were truly personal. I just wasn’t ready for that.

NOTE: Mental health month is in May! Have you taken the time to evaluate your mental and emotional state honestly?

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This is a Baltimore City Health Department's social innovation project in collaboration with various priority populations in Baltimore