Black Christian Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

I longed to get out of the stage in life of feeling nobody heard me, no one truly "saw me" It's as if I was just "there" all my life. So many countless days of me trying to find my place in life. With so many common roadblocks life sets in motion, I'm a firm believer that things are much easier when one has a strong support system, knowledge of navigating through all of life's craziness, and sustainable mental health. I've witnessed the black community view mental health as a personal obstacle. One is considered weak or crazy if there is some sort of imbalance. At times, it's preferable to not even be discussed. "You'll be okay, just pray."

Being the youngest in a struggling black family of eight children was never the easiest. As many feel I would get a great amount of attention, I didn't. I remember playing outside most of every evening with my brother and his friends, climbing trees and simply doing whatever they destructively did. After the streetlights would come on, my brother would rush home, and I would drag my feet following slowly behind. I was never quite ready to face my reality again. I didn't know what depression was, but I knew something was really wrong with me.

My mother, an underpaid and overworked sixth grade school teacher, didn't have time for me. She and my dad, an alcoholic carpenter, had me at the ages of forty and fifty years old. After the seventh child, I do believe my mother was just simply too tired to care for me properly. I often felt neglected and put off for my older sisters to guide me. I witnessed them physically fight and argue almost every night the moon crept out in the night sky. My dad mainly cooked for the family, then would leave back out to return the next morning, if that. I felt so lost and sadly at that young age range between maybe five to twelve, I really didn't know what I needed. I would hide the family's essential items like hygiene products, house cleaning items, medicines, and so many other things in the bottom drawer of a dresser in one of the back rooms that no one ever really used. It was all to get attention; some sort of acknowledgement would do.

Throughout my grade school years, I always felt alone, just dazing out the window most of the time. I never ate lunch in the cafeteria with the other kids, as I never felt like I fit in anywhere to be honest. During lunch, I would head to the library or sit in the restroom stall until the bell rang for my next class. Truly a depressed child. My middle school and high school years were filled with so many gloomy days and dreaded morning of the thought of school and feeling invisible. It would literally get to the point where I would see a kid getting bullied, and say to myself, "I don't even get bullied. I'm truly invisible."

I was raised in a strict majority black, Pentecostal church, as my mother made sure we were in service Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights each week, also Sunday mornings. I had a few kids I sat with, but still felt like an outcast, just there. In many religions, depression is just something you can just "rid" with prayer. No one really desires to address it. Mine was just swept under the rug, while I longed to find new ways to run away or self-destruct. I was taught nothing but about religion/God. I grew up knowing nothing about credit, men, how to survive. A severely depressed teen was thrown to the wolves to just wing it. That's how I met my ex-husband, the man who bounced me straight into another realm of depression.

And now, in my adulthood, nothing much has changed. I still struggle with deeply rooted depression, but I've found my own coping mechanisms. The majority of my sudden decisions and behaviors surely stemmed from me not being able to truly focus or dissect situations properly. Many people struggle to think logically and learn to support others in mental wars. I always see it as radical ignorance.

My heart goes out to people in need. I see people's struggle and swiftly want to jump to aide. Maybe that's why I never understand how no matter how many times one cries out for a raft, nothing is ever thrown out in rescue. Just sweep, sweep, sweep. I always wondered if God heard me or even cared about what I was going through, especially after my assault from a minister. I lost the little faith left. I was left, impregnated, alone, with no support from my family, to fend for myself.

To this day, I still feel as though no one truly sees me. No one hears me...just my six kids and strangers I advocate for. With all that my kids and I have gone through, homelessness, illnesses, my abuse/divorce from their dad, and so many other things, my kids have always seen me. They motivate me to keep going and constantly remind me that I am useful somewhere in this world. No, my depression doesn't allow me to fully receive or become responsive to their kind gestures, but I think someone is listening/watching....

No, I know for sure they are listening and watching, when no one else is. I make time to listen to them and I let them in on my life and mistakes. I teach them about God, but I also make them aware of the truths in life, so they won't be caught off guard. Under my roof, we refrain from neglecting mental health. Mental Health Awareness is so very necessary!

But many don't hear a depressed soul until it's too late, until they’ve shut the gate, until the burial date…Depression Can't Wait!

October 12, 2023 18:23

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Steve Waite
01:30 Oct 22, 2023

So very true


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Bryan Irwin
13:17 Oct 19, 2023

I just have to say Thank You for this submission, so beautifully deep and personal and sad and raw and I don't think I can say much more than Thank You for sharing it! Mental health is so necessary


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