The Color of Pain

Hello world! I’m alive and well and have not been kidnapped by Serbian mobsters if you’ve been wondering why you haven’t seen a blog from yours truly. There’s been a lot of crazy shit in the news in my absence, something about an election and some guy that everyone hates ruling the iron throne. Apparently he killed some woman name Hillary in one of the most shocking plot twists ever in a TV show. Hillary was winning every single battle and just when she has the upper hand, this guy name Trump just storms the back door and practically cuts her throat. That’s a hell of a TV show! Wait, you mean that happened in real life? Damn fam! That’s not what this blog is about though, we here at the Epic Autistic stay the fuck out of politics and will not be talking about this further. It will however continue to be a constant source of jokes, metaphors, puns, analogies and, all the wonderful literary devices that your English teacher rammed down your throat like your name was Linda Lovelace (Yes that is a porn reference, we’re all adults here). Now that I’m done with that little tirade, it’s time to talk about the other things in the news. You know, the stuff that actually has to do with this blog. Recently, Kanye West was admitted to the hospital for a slew of psychiatric problems. Love or hate Kanye, mental heath is something we ALL should be talking about. A month ago, Kid Cudi also checked himself into rehab for depression and suicidal thoughts. These guys have plenty in common, they celebrities, the famous artists, they’re rich as fuck and, they’re black.

Growing up, us people of color never really talked much about mental health. Growing up, most people just assumed that it was a white thing. Some have even gone as far as assuming that white people made up mental disorders like ADHD, Autism, etc in order to load their kids with drugs. We never really talk about mental health and yet, mental illness impacts our community just as much as it does others. Mental illness knows no color and, it doesn’t discriminate. Growing up both black and, Autistic was a very interesting experience. I never really processed things the way others did. The little things that didn’t phase others bothered me greatly and, the big things that bothered other never really phased me. I was an extremely odd duck where I came from. Most who read this blog already know I was bullied, what I don’t mention much is that most of my memorable bullies were my own peers. I bring this up because culturally, we just never talked about neurodiversity, like ever. What I didn’t realize however, was that a lot of those same people were fighting battles of their own. Unfortunately, they came from communities where there wasn’t really anything wrong with you, you just needed to man the fuck up. Most of us carry this mentality with us not realizing that our mental struggles continue to eat at us until there’s nothing left. I’ll never forget the first time I let people know that I struggled with thoughts of suicide. One person I know after getting mad at me ended their rant with “you’re not white”. That hit me pretty hard and made me feel really alone. It’s like, we’re taught to stick together but, when you start spilling your feelings then well, fuck you.

Love or hate Kanye, this revelation is extremely important because it starts up a conversation that we should have started years ago. It really shouldn’t take celebrities dealing with a problem for it to be relevant but, I guess that’s just how the world turns. If there’s anything I’ve learned in these last six years, it’s that it’s okay to ask for help. The “You’re not white” line still twists nerves to this very day because mental illness affects EVERYONE! The only reason it seems like a white thing is because white people are just more open. They’re taught early that it’s okay to ask for help. The moment their children get diagnosed with anything the first instinct is “well how do we go up from here”. Within our community, there is a serious pride problem. No human no matter what race you are has trouble accepting the fact that their children are different and that they’re not the prodigy child they dreamed up in their head. Within our communities however, this problem is amplified tenfold. No one wants their child to be the subject of the “grown folks table” gossip or, the “Church Choir Group” Gossip or, the “we’re going for a walk when we’re really gonna go behind the house or in a car to smoke marijuana” conversation. We’re not taught much about mental illness so when children start acting up, it’s tough love and then that’s it. Not many people ever wonder “well, maybe there’s a reason my child acts this way that I overlooked”.

The other thing we over look is trauma. Everyone is bound to experience some form of trauma at some point. Trauma stays with people and paves the way for other acquired mental problems. Growing up during hard times, if you were a guy you had to man the fuck up. To put it bluntly, you couldn’t be no bitch nigga if you wanted a shot at the world. Those who are Kanye fans will know that his mother died eight years ago, he was never really the same after that. Many people within the black community experience some sort of trauma we’re taught to bury. Some of us grew up in violent neighborhoods and watched friends or, family members die due to gun violence. Some of us grew up with drug addicted family members. Some people either grew up without a father or, watched their fathers walked out of their lives. We’re often taught to bury this trauma, we had to man the fuck up and be tough. The problem is that trauma never really goes away and until you come face to face with it, you’ll never really recover from it.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from Kanye and Kid Cudi, it’s that we really need to start talking about mental health. No matter what your race is, mental health is a human issue and the sooner we address it, the better we’ll be in the long run. If you’re going through something then talk to someone you feel safe around. If you don’t have a good network then, find a psychiatrist or, call a hotline. The first step to recovery is admitting you need help. I learned the hard way why we don’t bury trauma or, other problems that we’re dealing with. Thankfully I had a mother who I could talk to about my problems but sadly, not everyone has that same support system. I also write this because the holidays are approaching and from experience, this is a pretty shitty time of the year mentally. Back when I was seeing a therapist the office would be super crowded this time of year. If y’all ever need someone to talk to then don’t hesitate to drop me a line on the site email,

Seriously guys, mental illness isn’t a white thing. Mental Illness is a human thing that we don’t have to deal with alone.

Stay classy.

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