Many people have compared this year to a roller coaster, but it’s more like a drop tower. In January, we started at the top of the tower, but since February, we can’t figure out when we finally will reach the bottom. It is even worse for people of colour. As someone who is black, I keep telling myself;
Every time I check the news, social media, or even on my family, it seems like everything bad has gone to worse. My optimistic, positive attitude has finally left my body for pessimism.
While I have become more aware and socially conscious of current events, I have lost control of my mental health. I know that this year has been rough for everyone, but I have a message for all my people of colour:
It’s OK to take a break.
It’s fine to get off of Twitter for a day.
It’s fine to leave Facebook alone for a couple of days.
It’s alright to not watch the news for a few days.
Just take a break.
In the past six months, the Black community has gone through enough events for three years.
In January, we experienced the tragic and unexpected loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
In March and April, we dealt with COVID-19 devastating our communities because Black people are three times more likely to die than any other community.
In May, we have been dealing with the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others who have passed from police brutality.
In June, we are finally showing the world that systematic racism has not left our society like everyone believes it has.
Not to mention more videos of police brutality, a presidential election that is full of controversy, the uncertainty of another recession, and COVID-19 making another resurgence.
In 2020, it seems like we entered a disaster movie, except for the environmental crisis and natural disasters (Oh wait).
I have finally hit my breaking point.
In the past six months, I have been bouncing back and forth between crumbling depression to outstanding anger. I feel like times where I’m not bouncing between the two is just a state of content than real happiness. Happiness and joy have felt more distant memories than recurring feelings.
As an introvert, I’ve been lying to my friends and family about how I’ve been feeling. It was only after the past events of George Floyd and other police brutality cases where I have been vocal about some of my feelings.
I know that I’m not the only one going through troubled times, and I didn’t want to add more stress to their lives, worrying about me.
However, after six months of raging emotions like I’m going through adolescence, I have finally decided to address my feelings and mental health. The main reason being that I’m tired of being on Twitter for hours, pissing myself off to the point of frustration. It’s good that everyone has finally been aware of the issues plaguing our society, but there’s a breaking point for everyone.
If you have reached that breaking point, it’s time to take a step back. Ignore social media and the news for a day. Take time to do things that make you happy. Whether that’s writing, watching your favourite shows or movies, painting, blogging, or anything that does not involve current events.
Go seek out a therapist. I know there is an extreme stigma when it comes to professional help, but the truth is that sometimes you need to talk to someone that is not your friend and family. In a weird sense, it’s easier for some people to discuss things like emotions and feelings with a professional than with your family and friends.
For me, it’s difficult to discuss subjects like mental health with my support base. I never want to come off over-dramatic, whining, or complaining; especially when there are people in harder situations.
The truth is we all need to express our feelings, no matter what the situation. We all need to look at our own self-care and mental health. You can’t help someone else until you care for yourself.
So don’t feel bad if you need a break from everything happening in the world right now.
Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you into feeling like a punk for taking a break from current events.
Don’t feel bad for not knowing every situation happening in the world right now.
Take care of yourself before becoming a social activist. For many of us, we have been dealing with issues of systematic racism and bigotry for most of our lives. We have become so numb to everything that the problems have become the standard.
In a phrase, we all have been…
“Laughing to keep from crying.”
However, a combination of everyone being on social media simultaneously and paranoia of a pandemic has led to the perfect storm of racism finally rearing its ugly head.
So for all my fellow people of colour, don’t be ashamed to need a break from everything. You need to come off of the roller coaster to keep from vomiting. Stress will kill you before anything else will. There’s a reason why they say,