You need Jesus...and a shrink: Why won't black people go to therapy?

10:42 AM

When news of Miriam Carey hit our social media pages -- and by news I mean the news about her being a crazed Black woman from Connecticut, not just the news about her ramming her car into the gates of the White House, -- admit it: many of you were just as surprised as I was.

At least I was surprised...for about five minutes. But then, something happened; and I wasn't even drinking at the time. I remembered that although she had a history of mental illness we don't know if she was actually seeking therapy, and Black people tend to shun therapy. Post-partum depression?! How old was the child again? 

White people just ride with me for a few as I talk to my fellow dolls and action figures of color.

For years I have been taught to "take it to the Lord in prayer." And we did. Still you had drug abuse, physical abuse and "he is a bit offs" floating all around in the 70s and 80s. When we did decide to dare I say it, look beyond the Lord, where did we go? I'll wait. We went to our parents. Our "friends". The church. And in doing so we received a smorgasbord of advice: stay with him, divorce him, stay but see other people since "you have needs". And there you have it, the problem is that there are too many people who think they know you, because, you know, they know you. Pow.

The other day on my part-time job, I was printing some marketing materials (I do among other pieces, press releases and sales letter, y'all. Just sayin'!) and when the paper ran out the strangest message popped onto my PC screen. It basically didn't know WTF what was wrong with the printer. Do what? How are you a printer, albeit a rather dated one, and you don't know what's wrong and that a simple paper refill was all I needed? Had I not known any better I would have been expected to choose from the mini buffet of problems it had suggested: out of paper, paper jam, or take it to the Lord in prayer.

A professional Epson printer associate would have gladly told me to change the paper. And force me to relive my childhood and bony-as-hell-with-no-ass-atol-with-thick-lenses glasses tween years. Get it? Sure it can seem dreadful and you'd envision someone shouting "loser!" in your ear. But get over it, because obviously the tried and true mental illness addressing methods we have grown up with aren't working and it's past time for a plan B.

Now before y'all start commenting: I love the Lord. I still turn to Him when I'm in need. But maybe, just maybe He has placed educated professionals in the world -- licensed therapists, not "life coaches/speakers/authors" using examples from their wretched pasts as a basis to teach others how to cope with their own lives; if that's not the blind leading the blind... -- to help us in between the prayers and fasts.

(No offense to the life coaches/speakers/authors but Imma need some of you to not quit your day jobs.)

Until we stop treating mental illness...crazy... like it's a phase, or a word in a  phrase to dismiss odd behavior, we will continue to read more stories like Ms. Carey's; or should I say we will read about the tragedies caused, because we really don't know enough about the New England mom. Either she was still post-partum depressed, on drugs or demon possessed. Take your pick like I did with the Epson.

Don't forget what else happened in DC two weeks ago. Yep, he was Black, too.

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  1. Good point. I was shocked. Since I'm a man, I don't have any comment about postpartum depression. That is an enigma to me. However, I would suggest black people get over the stigma towards professional psychologist and invest in good treatment.

    1. Thanks, Sid!

      We would rather invest in a good weave (or natural hair products...#teamnatural) ...*shrugs*

  2. OMG! I just had this very conversation with a "SISTA". I told her that she may need to go and lay on someones couch and talk and she told me that "black folk don't do therapy". My response was "maybe that's what the problem is".