Mental Illness, A Daily Battle Swept Under The Rug

Today’s post is dedicated to the memory of my neighbor’s 13-year daughter who, on April 22nd, killed herself. I used to see her little girl almost every day; she was always very respectful and would speak to me. They have a crazy old dog that would bark every time I would pull up to the house and she used to run out and get him.

I honestly don’t know why she did it, but I do know that it has affected me in some type of way, which is why I wanted to talk about the issues of mental health and depression. As much as the black culture likes to sweep it under the rug, it is a very real thing and I feel it is overlooked by tons of people daily.

I have been battling depression for a long time and I’m so thankful for having the opportunity to have met people that understand what I’m going through; that has allowed me to open up and trust certain people with the issues I’m dealing with and learn to control my emotions better. We all have been through a lot in our lives in some kind of way. We all have a story or two that would make others think ‘damn, you really went or are going through that?’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to tell my story but I am here to let those out there that think they are the only ones struggling with mental issues or depression that you are not alone.

Many cities have free and paid help groups that you can reach out to if you don’t have anyone close to you to talk to. The most important thing to remember is to never give up. I know it sounds so cliché to say, but it’s true. You have to keep fighting and pushing through to help yourself get better so you can learn to live and enjoy life again. You have to fight back and take control of your emotions; you can’t let them control your life. Reach out to a person who you know loves you and just vent if you have to. Cry, scream, let that emotion out, then pull yourself together and push on to better days. You can’t let your emotions defeat you.

Another important thing to remember and understand is that your fight isn’t the same as someone else’s fight so don’t compare it to others. Find out what works for you and get back to your happy place the best way you can.

On the flipside, please remember to check on the people you know and care about. Call them and simply see how they are doing. Not in an industry corny I need something kind of way either. I mean really call your people and check on them. Don’t just text, Facebook or tweet them. PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL THEM. To hear another person’s voice can be so soothing and just the right thing for someone at the right time. You just never know what some of your friends and family may be going through. Fighting depression is a day to day thing. I’m still fighting depression but I have learned to talk it out when I start to feel overwhelmed. I have great people in my corner that I can call on when I need someone to listen. That simple call and a listening ear may just save their life. Sometimes that is all people really need is someone to just hear them out and sometimes give them some good sound advice. So tell the people you love that YOU LOVE THEM and you are there for them. As I sit and reflect today, I wish I would’ve checked on my neighbor and her daughter more often because maybe I could have been her saving grace.

If you don’t take anything else away from this remember these five important things:
1. Depression and mental illness are real.
2. Check on your people, ESPECIALLY if they are constantly on you mind.
3. If you are battling depression get some help – family, friends or professional.
4. Learn to not let your emotions take control of your life.
5. Live for you. Learn to love and be happy with who you are and try to make every day you are alive a better more fulfilling day.

Peace x Power,
Trav Dave

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