Rest In Peace Riky Rick: Black Men’s Mental Health and Denial

What I have done to overcome my seasonal depression while releasing my hidden rage.

It was obvious I was in trouble when I found myself unable to prevent being angry because I’d never been this angry before. It is nearly impossible for a black person in this country to be relatively conscious without having rage almost all the time – and even in one’s work. Part of the rage is that it’s not just what we are going through. The truth is that it’s all around us and all of the time despite the most bizarre indifference, the indifference of the majority of the people, and their ignorance.

My confidence was shattered after learning that I have seasonal depression. I have a very positive outlook on life and am extremely content with my work. So to hear about depression and me in the same sentence was ridiculous.

Today, I want to tell you about my struggles and how I am trying to beat depression while giving you some insight into being a Black man at a critical moment in history.

According to Scripture, Jesus cured many who were ill. Scripture claims that Jesus liberated many from demons. Nevertheless, I do not believe Jesus will bring the people of the town to health, and I do not believe Jesus will release them from their demons if the People of God do not respond to his preaching and repent of their sin. Random?

It is unfortunate that not enough Black men are willing to give us real insights into the struggles of mental health issues and other problems. Hopefully this inspires you to at least proactively seek help. Proactively, as in even when there is nothing wrong, hurting, or broken.

There’s a lot of pressure because you know you need help, but you don’t want to feel like a burden and be condemned for asking for help. So you isolate, and the more you isolate, the worse you feel. It is unlikely to lead to anything but devastation, burn-out, and pinned-down Black rage when protests, rightful rioting, heated racial tension, and ignorant racial slurs combine.

Being Black with Depression and Accepting It.

It took me a while to accept that I was one of those lucky Black men, and I suffered from depression. Instead of saying, “that’s only a White problem, and Black people don’t have this problem”, I had to say, “this is a Mental Health problem, and I can overcome it.”In the absence of first accepting I had a problem, I would probably be in an unsafe, dark mental space. I tried talking to Black colleagues about it. They immediately didn’t understand.

My discussion was hijacked when they tried to explain to me that only white people can be depressed. I did not need to hear that at the time. So you could say I limited the amount of time I spent with them. There is no help in denial. There is no help in trying to understand what happened, what made it happen, what caused it, etc. You can keep cursing your genes, but it won’t help. No amount of cursing the environment in which your illness arose, no amount of cursing the people causing you stress at every stage of your life cannot alleviate it.

It would have been so much more meaningful for me to end this by telling you how I won the battle against depression. I wish I could end this by telling you how I won. Since I haven’t yet defeated depression, every day I choose to get out of bed, workout, and journal is a micro victory instead of focusing on the total battle. I am becoming more focused on the tiny battles.

A Black man’s struggle with seasonal depression has opened up a whole new dimension of Black rage, a new commitment to myself, and a new level of mental toughness and determination.

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