"I'm not _______ Enough
“I’m not ______ enough”
My waking hours began to have a sort of haze over them as if my entire life was shrouded by a patch of heavy fog. Colors less vibrant, food less savory, music less dynamic. I was stuck in some strange corner of the universe where time progressed paradoxically. All at once but also not at all. Days, weeks, months would be fleeting moments but somehow also passed as eons. Nothing ever felt quite real. “Me” had retreated into the depths of my mind, consumed by thoughts of negativity and worthlessness, leaving behind a hollow shell of my former self to interact with the world.
“You look like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders!”
My stepmother said to me at the dinner table, celebrating my little brother’s high school graduation. I hadn’t realized my detachment from reality until she called me out on it. And I suppose it did kind of feel that way. I had been so disconnected for so long, hovering over my own body, simply observing the happenings rather than actually living and feeling.
Mental health and its importance were never addressed in my household growing up. I, like many, had thought “depression” was a synonym for general feelings of sadness. The body aches, the lethargy, the overwhelming notion of self-worthlessness were all omitted from my perception of what depression really is. Furthermore, feelings of sadness or apathy were either product of lack of effort in seeing silver linings or a lack of effort in prayer. Can’t find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning? Pray for strength. Up all night from crippling feelings of anxiety? Pray for tranquility. Pray harder, pray more often, and God alone will mend your demon afflicted spirit.
Using weakness of faith as a scapegoat for mental health issues has, to me, always seemed a distinct characteristic and fault of the black community. It’s no surprise that some of our favorite and impactful artists draft lyrics saturated with motifs running the gamut of mental illness. Biggie, 2Pac, DMX, Kendrick, Kanye all spit verses that had some reference to struggles with their own mind. But the conversation about mental illness and the hip-hop/black community has only recently been explored in the past few years with the rise of grimy, underground artists like Tyler the Creator and XXXTENTACION. So it shook me when I received a text from my stepmother with a list of reputable therapists in my area a week after that graduation dinner. I give her all the credit for drawing attention to and opening doors to solutions for my plight. I encourage all to stay observant of their loved ones, watch for signs, and intervene when necessary. I’ll likely spend the rest of my life engaged in close combat with my “demons,” but I’d much rather be fighting than surrendering.
Love, be loved, be love.