Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It (Series, Part 3)

May 18, 2021

By Nicole

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Remember when I said I had learned to heal my brain by a wholistic approach? Well, I was already eating fairly healthy at that point, but I became intentional to do so even more, targeting foods like sweet potatoes, eggs, nuts and seeds. I also started taking herbal supplements that increase serotonin in the brain, (a hormone that stabilizes our mood), because at this point anxiety had now brought in its ugly cousin “depression” to the toxic party going on in my brain. Additionally, I was making sure to workout consistently to release endorphins.

I was riding in the car one day talking to my mom about the difficulty I was having. I didn’t understand where all this chaos in my mind was coming from, so I asked, “Mom, do we have mental health issues in our family?”. She was silent for a moment, before slowly responding, “I think so, but we didn’t know what to call it, and we didn’t know how to deal with it.” I think that was very telling because in the Black community, mental health, historically, has not been discussed.

I have a long line of strong Black women in my bloodline who endured and survived very tragic circumstances, yet unfortunately their survival resulted in shattered and broken dreams as well as a host of mental health issues that went undiagnosed, simply because their focus was on survival, and not wholeness. From talking with my mother, I was beginning to learn that God was giving me the opportunity to not just survive like they did, but to thrive! Because I did not have children taking up my focus, or even a job at this point, I had the luxury to just focus on my mental health, and that was truly a gift.

Still, the months went by and the war in my mind raged on. The unique thing about that time period, was that even though on the inside I felt tormented, on the outside I looked perfectly fine. I was able to keep up my appearance and engage with others socially as if nothing was going on. I believe that experience was another grace God was giving me; He wanted me to keep functioning in life, even through the pain.

How many are walking around today who look perfectly normal? How many appear to have it all together when their internal world is falling apart? You would be surprised. Many are probably surprised at this post. I have shared in parts about my struggle with mental health issues before, but never to this degree. I hope that someone is encouraged that even though it can take a while, the pain does end. I know it did for me, and God is not a respecter of persons. What He did for me, He will surely do for you.

Another revelation that came during this time, was not just the influence that my immediate family’s bloodline had on my mental struggle, but the actual experiences of my ancestors who were enslaved. God showed me how the trauma and turmoil that I was in, was indeed related to the men and women who were bound in ships as cargo some 200 years ago. They were fearful, depressed and abused, and that fear and abuse was still coursing through my veins. When He showed this to me, I was in awe. How could I still be affected by something that happened so long ago, and did not even happen to me?! But I was. And that is just how powerful DNA is. That is the impact of epigenetics.

I learned that the reason it was taking so long for my healing, was because it wasn’t just my own negative life experiences that I was overcoming, it was the life experiences of those who had come before me. I was overcoming for us all.

Who are you overcoming for? Who’s life experiences are coursing through your veins? What is your family history? I guarantee you that finding out will give you more understanding as to why you are experiencing some of the things you are in your own life journey.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at: 800-273-8255.

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