In a recent article from the Business Insider, they discussed how our mental health care system fails Black men and the fact that Black men under-utilize the services provided.
“Instead of receiving professional help for their depressive episodes, black men are often told to “pray it away” by older family members who find solace in scripture. Others are told to “man up” or “stop being a punk.””
In my experience with mental health issues, these are the exact quotes people have told me. It’s as if people believe that the solution to my problems is to somehow have a Superman approach to everything; kick it, punch it, blow it away and it’ll be solved. When I experience depression it’s usually due to the fact that I can’t find a solution to the problem I’m experiencing. Every remedy I find is shot down or just doesn’t work out.
For example, my finances are a huge issue for me. Due to student loans, I’m thousands of dollars in debt. Of course the solution that everyone is using is to work and make enough money to cover the cost. However because I’m a felon with a fraud conviction, I can’t obtain any job that requires me to deal with vulnerable people or sensitive information. I can’t work for the DMV because social security numbers and license plate numbers are sensitive information. I was thinking of joining the Armed Forces, but they no longer recruit felons. I can’t even get a job as a waiter because they work with customer’s credit cards. If I can’t get hired at these type of jobs, most management jobs are also out of the question. I tried working for the state of California in the food services area, but I couldn’t get that job either. I can’t even work for Uber! The only jobs I am hired for are low wage jobs like dishwashing, bussing tables, or janitorial work. I bring home about $1400 to pay my bills, but I need at least $2500.
The next thing I tried was working multiple jobs. However, working two jobs didn’t guarantee that I would get everything I needed to keep my bills current. The type of jobs I was able to get could and sometimes would cut my hours with little notice. These jobs were hard on me mentally because my employment with them was predicated upon me dealing with unprofessional management. I also had to deal with burnt out co-workers who were sick of their jobs which brought negativity to the environment. These types of work environments are not healthy for anyone let alone someone who isn’t mentally stable.
Negative environments fuel future depressive episodes since I begin to feel as if I can’t do any better for myself. It feels like I’m not good enough or I’m only as good as the jobs I work, like my co-workers and unprofessional managers.
If I know the solution to my problem, why do I need to talk to someone who specializes in mental health. Unless this person can give me something to aid my income generation, then there is no point in having a conversation for $100 an hour. I also don’t like medication. I value being a creative person, which means I use my mind a lot. I need it to be free so I can think up the best content. If they give me Prozac, I fear it will hurt my mind’s ability to imagine and wonder about various things. The people I’ve seen on that type of medication are zombie like and I can’t be a zombie and create a ton a content.
Again, I want a real solution to my problems. I don’t need to just talk about it unless that conversation leads to us solving my problem. I don’t want to mask my problems either with things like medication. Lastly, I don’t want to run from my problems, I just want to solve the problem.