So let’s talk about mental health.
My mom has an acute mental illness: Depression and Paranoia. Her first psychotic break happened in 2015, out of nowhere. I remember the day it happened. I was preparing to leave to New York City to celebrate the fourth of July but knew something was wrong. She was unable to speak or comprehend I what I was telling her. She didn’t want to eat or drink water because she was paranoid that someone was going to poison her. I didn’t know what to do except call an ambulance and head to the ER.
We arrived at the hospital to receive a psych evaluation and it was decided that she should be placed on a 5150 hold. Later, she was transferred to a psychiatric facility and stayed there for about two weeks. She was able to come home after agreeing to take psychotic medication and attend group sessions.
My mom has never shown any mental instability since I was born until I was 22 years old, so often times I ask myself what caused this? Will she ever be the same? Well, I’ve come to accept that she won’t be the same Mom that I grew up with but I’ll grow to love her just the same.
Fast forward to 2017. After countless psychiatry appointments, rehabilitation facilities and prayer we are now back at the same place. She refuses to take her assigned medication. There’s an obvious stigma surrounding mental health in the African-American community. Most of us that have mental illness don’t want to speak about it in fear of making themselves seem “crazy” or unstable. My mom suffers from this thought process as well. I am writing this to acknowledge my Mom during Mental Awareness Month and to encourage everyone that it’s OK to candidly speak about mental illness.
I don’t have the answers but I refuse to give up on my mom.
Seek help, community, love and be well.