I’m concerned for the life of Lamar Odom and the perception of what he is going through. Mental health is so stigmatized and ignored that it becomes volcanic in the sense that people rarely pay attention until things have erupted. We have watched this man struggle with traumatic events and drugs for years now. But we’ve ignored a silent cry that our ears haven’t been conditioned to be able to hear.
I hope people aren’t deceived to believe that the drugs are the problem. It’s a by-product of the problem that has been suppressed by himself likely as a result of the culture and disregard for mental health issues in society. Like who does a person turn to? Better yet how do you translate a plethora of feelings and emotions in your mind and communicate that to someone who could potentially help? It’s instances like this that I’m reminded of my passion for bringing awareness to mental health. I want to create a space where people don’t feel alone. Where people can talk and recieve resources. It’s too important. I want to target the youth so that the generations behind me may have better opportunities of dealing with mental health as real and getting the help they deserve.
I told my dream to just a few people. It’s very specific. And I find myself becoming more eager to achieve it. The dream is becoming more detailed and vivid with each story like Lamar Odom’s coming to the surface. Mental health issues are real and can result in the end of someone’s life. I don’t want the world to wait anymore until people die. It’s tough going through anything mentally but there are precautionary actions we can take to help people everyday with their mental health and therapists and prescriptions don’t always have to be the only answer.
I’m dreaming of a substantial change in our culture. A simple smile, compliment, conversation could go a long way. I’m not saying it might work wonders medically but that there’s the potential that if we encourage our society to be more open to one another and make it more acceptable to not be okay sometimes and feel able to express that then we’re making a major step. I asked a guy on the metro “How are you feeling today?” And he looked at me like I was crazy. Like 1. Who actually talks to strangers on the metro? and 2. You care about how I’m doing today? Bizarre. I could tell it took him back a bit and I’m thinking why is this not normal. We have conditioned our people to suppress suppress suppress and get deeper and deeper into ourselves to the point where we have successfully isolated a population of people who are not ok to suffer in silence.
I just want better. I want little black and brown kids like me especially to know that you don’t have to just suck it up. You don’t have to deal with it on your own. You don’t have to be okay all the time. Vulnerability and weakness are not synonymous. There’s hope through each and every hardship. Life does not have to be this spiraling staircase downwards into this dark and scary place where it’s just you. There’s light. And I want to help spread that light.
For my senior capstone I’m a part of a group taking the initiative to teach 3rd-5th grade students about their mental health and stress. Not in a very sciency/serious/complicated way. It’s just teaching them about different emotions and how there are no bad emotions but life is about balancing those emotions and using healthy coping mechanisms throughout your different circumstances. I don’t think I’ve ever done a more important project than this one I’m about to produce. It’s too important. Life is too valuable and too precious to continue to let people suffer and suffer and suffer. Someone has to care. Someone had to do something. It’s too important.