Posted in Blog

“It’s Because of Their Mental Health Issues” – Labelling and Stigma

This might be a controversial post for some, however it’s a question I often ask myself when I look at the people around me, observing their behaviour and the way they interact with the world around them.

So the question is:

How far can somebody go with using their mental health issues as an excuse for being abusive towards others?

In other words, can you excuse somebody hurting you because they have mental health issues?

The reason I ask is because although I know and through volunteering have met some amazing people with various mental health illnesses and disorders (in fact, these are people who I have come to highly respect), on the other hand I’ve also met and witnessed people who treat others appallingly: Making racist remarks, being homophobic, being verbally abusive, physically assaulting people, committing sexual assault and even murder, and society tends to excuse the behaviour as mental instability.

Last month I was physically assaulted and it was racially motivated. The perpetrator is mentally ill and many people were divided because of that, some excusing the behaviour because of his mental health issues, while others felt that although he suffers from a mental illness there is no excuse for racism. My trauma was also minimised by some because as the perpetrator has schizophrenia he was seen by them as the victim.

What do you think?

Where I volunteer, there’s a member of our team who can be extremely abrupt and rude, even to the service users. At first, especially because I’m protective of the people we look after, my first reaction was to think of him as a dick, however I then wondered if he was perhaps on the spectrum: Because he struggles with communication and becomes very unsettled when there are interruptions to the daily schedule perhaps causing him difficulty in expressing his emotions. However, considering that the people we work with are vulnerable too, does that excuse his rude behaviour towards them?

I come to recognise (through the thankful help of therapy) that I tend to get ahead of myself in making assumptions about a person’s behaviour when actually I have not right to.

This can also be applied to us as a society.

We often excuse criminal behaviour for mental instability. Very often if a white man commits mass murder, society is very quick to label him and assume that he is mentally unstable and in need of help rather than judgement. However, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, many young black men who have suffered horrendous trauma might commit acts of violence, yet society very rarely shows any understanding or sympathy towards them.

Those of us in the UK remember the incident earlier this year, where a white man verbally abused a black woman whose seat had been allocated next to his and because he didn’t want her to sit next to him, he shouted offensive racially abusive things to her (including calling her a “monkey” and referring to her as “that“), just because he didn’t want a black woman sitting next to him. Many white people who read the story excused the man’s behaviour because he was old and “probably had mental health issues”, but clearly the guy was a dick with no respect for women as well as being obviously racist.

I personally feel that there is a thin line between mental illness and hurting people. I’m not perfect and although my mental illnesses may not as severe as the people I come across while volunteering, I have definitely had moments of spontaneous emotion where I’m not thinking clearly about my actions and hurt people in the process. My personality issues make me extremely impulsive where I act before I’ve even had time to process the thoughts behind it. However, I am extremely remorseful afterwards, sometimes immediately, sometimes a little bit later on, sometimes longer. But I do show remorse which is very much genuine and very much off my own back.

This is important to note.

Last week while volunteering I had a conversation with one of the service users, who while in a fit of rage made some homophobic comments. He had been accused of hitting someone and in the process of saying he wouldn’t hurt anyone, he then said “it’s not like I’m going around beating up f****s“. I told him he couldn’t say what he was saying because it was offensive. He walked away but then a few minutes later came back with his head hung low and apologised; he explained that he was upset and struggling to express his feelings and sometimes when that happens he says things he doesn’t mean, however he had not meant to say what he had and was deeply ashamed. He also has schizophrenia and can struggle to sort through his own thoughts and beliefs. Being a queer woman, I had every right to be upset with him but to me, that was a blip for him; in my opinion he showed genuine remorse and he’s proven himself to be a kind soul. That conversation was actually our first real encounter and it could’ve had a negative impact on how I saw him, but he very quickly proved himself to be a kind-hearted and genuine person.

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

I think we really have to be mindful of how we’re using the term mental ill-health, because excusing bad behaviour as a symptom of mental illness only intensifies the stigma surrounding it, penalising the many people who are struggling to be seen as real people as opposed to monsters.

And these are my final thoughts for 2018! I’m going on the short mini-break to Vienna and I’ll be back on 2nd January, so when I’m back I’ll post about my trip as well as my highlights for 2018. Happy New Year to all of my readers and subscribers 💋 your support has been a lifeline for me! See you in 2019!

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

What Do I Want, Like, Really REALLY Want?

Even though my sister and I haven’t spoken for just over four years, not a day goes by where I don’t think about her; sometimes it’s a song or film that reminds me of her and all of the memories connected to that come flooding back, overwhelming me with grief. For example, over the weekend I was making my girlfriend watch the “Twilight” film: for her it was the first time; for me it was the God knows what-teenth time. The Twilight saga literally took over me and my sister’s lives! We were both obsessed with Edward Cullen, while my best friend at the time was infatuated with Jacob Black, so my sister and I would cackle at how anybody could choose a smelly werewolf over an oppressively loving vampire (of course I realise now that Edward’s behaviour was borderline sociopathic, and he and Bella deffo had an unhealthy relationship…) and we would obsessively watch the films over and over again. There’s a particular song at the end of Twilight by Iron & Wine which my sister absolutely loved and hearing it on Saturday absolutely broke me.

 

Probably also because I’m forever reminded of her in my dreams, which could be why hearing this song affected me so. Sometimes I dream that I’m apologising to my sister for abandoning her; my mother in these dreams is crazy to the point of feral, while my sister is so stressed she’s become severely underweight. In most of my dreams I’m chasing her for her forgiveness while she ignores me, until recently actually: last week I dreamt that she wanted to come to my birthday party (my birthday was recently) and I told her no, because I only wanted true family there (my friends). This was the first time I’d shown any authority towards her subconsciously, which is symbolic because showing authority and standing up for myself against her in reality was one of the reasons why she stopped talking to me.

 

Considering I’m a Psychology student, I should probably through some Freudian theory into this: most psychologists believe that dreams are just random brain activity while sleeping, but Freud’s psychoanalysis on dreams argues that our dreams are symbolic of hidden impulses we desire to enact and while asleep, thoughts from the id (subconscious) slip into our ego (consciousness).

 

Growing up, my sister and I were extremely close however, we did fight a lot, mostly over banal things such as each other’s toys, but also because of jealousy – I saw my sister as my father’s fave and she saw me as my mother’s fave – while being played off against one another by our parents. But I always promised myself that we would never end up like our mother and her sister (our aunt) – who no longer speak to each other and haven’t for years – so even when I knew my sister was in the wrong, the majority of the time I would be the one to make up with her, desperate to keep our relationship in tact.

 

As close as we were and as hard as the separation is for me, (according to my mother – when we were speaking – my sister was also struggling with our separation, but where I’ve made many attempts to reach out to her, she has slammed the door in my face and hasn’t made any attempts to reach out to me either) I need to come to grips with the fact that we may never speak again. On the other hand, it has only been four years which in the grand scheme of life is not really that long, so there is still time to reconcile.

 

But do I really want to?

 

On Saturday as I was crying to my girlfriend and sobbing that I couldn’t take not speaking to her any longer, my girlfriend thinking that it was coming from a good place advised me to try one more time to reach out to her. So I did plan to give it one more go on Sunday (yesterday) by calling the house to speak to her while my mother would be out of the house at church, but then on Sunday morning I had two seizures and couldn’t do anything for the rest of the day and forgot about our plan until later on in the evening. The strange thing was, I didn’t seem to distraught about having forgotten about it.

 

I also religiously listen to Kelechi Okafor’s podcast called “Say Your Mind” and this week, during her tarot reading section, she talked about self-worth and knowing who should and shouldn’t be “on the [life] journey with you”. She advised that sometimes people leave your life for a reason and if they cannot see your self worth, then they shouldn’t be on this journey with you and this led me to reconsider my actions regarding my sister.

 

My sister doesn’t see my self-worth; she doesn’t consider my feelings; she only loves me when I’m being a “yes man” – remember she made the decision to stop talking to me after I moved out of the family home and growing tired of her shit and lies I finally stood up to her.

He was a good man

This is also the same sister who even though grew up in the same household of tyranny with my father, claims to not believe that I was sexually abused by this man because according to her warped memories, “he was a good man”. Her memories are extremely selective though, because she does appear to remember him beating us and shouting, yet I guess because he bought us nice things (while getting us into debt) he was a great father.

 

This post has been extremely cathartic for me actually, because now that it’s all written down, I can see our relationship for how fucked up it really was and I do deserve better. I was saying to my girlfriend today that I would never chase an ex, so why am I chasing after my sister? I have too much dignity and self-worth for that.

 

So bringing this back to Freud (I’m not even a Freudian by the way, however I do find his theory on dreams quite interesting) what could my dreams mean?

  1. Do they mean that I do desperately want to reconcile with my sister?
  2. Do I just want to speak to her so that I can tell that I deserve to be treated with respect, how she’s rejected me is below par and that I deserve more?
  3. Or is it just a whole load of random thoughts?

 

I’ll probably still grieve, because it’s a massive loss regardless of how fucked up the relationship was, and as much as I wish the whole science from the film: “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind” existed, it doesn’t. Therefore things are going to trigger memories, which I have to accept and learn to cope with.

 

As for my dreams, I am seriously considering hypnotism to get this bitch out of my subconscious, because it’s driving me INSANE!

 

On a serious note, as of tomorrow, I’ll be seeing my old therapist again. My lovely girlfriend has agreed to help me out with the fees and I’m putting my pride aside to put my mental health first. So this will definitely be something to focus on. Clearly there’s something deeper psychologically to this which needs to be worked on.

Perhaps I need to realise that me living my best live and focusing on that instead of being able to say this to my sister’s face is actually the best therapeutic fuck you. My therapist is amazing at what she does, so I’m positive that I’ll be able to move on from this loss, both consciously as well as unconsciously.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Eugenics

The US created Feeblemindedness – a medical diagnosis that meant mentally deficient, stupid or foolish (Laureate, 2016).

I’m going to say something extremely controversial here: but as much as I love my mother, I find her to be weak and incredibly feebleminded.

She’s not weak because she was in an abusive relationship, (big-up Kelis for saying this recently. I should’ve known Nas was a prick).

Giphy

Thanks to therapy, I also no longer think that my mother is weak for having not protected me as a child.

What I do see in her, is a lack of ability to think for herself. She’s incredibly naive and stupid, very easily misled too – particularly by Religion. If I think morbidly about it, had my parents had met during the 1920s in the US, or had we been governed by a totalitarian regime, my sister and I might never have been born, because both of my parents may have been deemed unfit to breed (my father was poorly educated also), and so would’ve been sterilised.

I’ve spoken before about how my mother’s opinions are often misinformed due to Religion – particularly when it comes to science and medicine. But now it gets worse: a couple of weeks ago I found out that she’s a Trump supporter, because her church are teaching that Trump has been sent from God to free Israel and restore it to its pride of place, fulfilling the prophecies of the book of Revelation. Thus as a leader appointed by God, Trump should be supported and tolerated.

Giphy

Thankfully, eugenics is illegal because clearly I prove that feeblemindedness isn’t a genetic trait, however I was shocked to hear that the person who created me could really be so stupid. In case you don’t know, Trump is also best pals with the Israeli Prime Minister, whose government ordered for Jewish Ethiopian immigrant women to be sterilised against their will (and consent). Trump is also a fascist, misogynistic prick who believes that white Americans are the ultimate superior race, and whose policies dehumanise every person of colour in his country.

I initially thought that I had misheard her when she said she liked Donald Trump and his “cheeky face” (yes she did say that about the President of the United States). Initially we had been bitching about Theresa May and discussing the latest on the Windrush scandal, when my mum said:

“and she’s supposed to be a Christian, shame on her”,

to which I snorted and replied: “well, so is Trump”. However, she very quickly defended him and wouldn’t hear a bad word said against him.

It was incredibly unsettling.

It’s still not sitting right in my stomach – in fact, I feel sick just thinking about the conversation again. And even though we’ve spoken about it since, she still won’t back down from the teachings from her Church, regardless of Trump’s actions as a Leader of “the Free World”.

I want to know what my sister thinks about this, because surely she cannot be as stupid?

My girlfriend said to me that I cannot judge my mother and cut ties with her, just because we have opposing political views, however this is way more than that.

So much more.

She also proves to be feebleminded when it comes to parenting. She’s never been capable of raising me, lacks initiative and drive, perceives having “stuck around for my sister and I while my dad was the one who abandoned us” as a fucking obligation as opposed to her job as a mother, and seeks constant approval (like a child) for having done such a poor job of raising me in particular, when I as the child (regardless of what age I am) am desperately seeking love and approval from a mother who is incapable to giving that – especially to me.
What irks me the most about this, is it’s the older generation (that includes you, Kanye – 300 years of slavery was a choice? Screw you) fucking up yet again, leaving us (the educated, younger generation) to clean up the fucking mess. Thankfully feeblemindedness isn’t genetic, and thus also thankfully eugenics is illegal, otherwise the race would’ve been euthanised and we wouldn’t have the fabulous, Black intelligent people of my generation and the next, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not mentally affected by the sins of our parents. 

 

References

University of Liverpool, Laureate Online Education. (2016). “Week 5: Abilities: Theories, Structure and Measurement of Intelligence” Lecture Notes, Personality, Individual Differences and Intelligence Module.

Retrieved from: https://elearning.uol.ohecampus.com/bbcswebdav/institution/UKL1/201840MAR/MS_LPSY/LPSY_316/readings/UKL1_LPSY_316_Week05_LectureNotes.pdf

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Getting Myself Into Twitter Trouble (again!)

So I got myself into a feud on Twitter earlier today, because I was defending a thread about abuse in Black households and the majority hated the tweeter and the thread because not only did they perceive it to be anti-Black; they didn’t believe that there are Black abusive households because they never experienced it.

To say such a thing is so stupid, that I likened it to white people saying that racism doesn’t exist because they don’t experience it. I fight with white people online every day, I don’t expect to be fighting with brothers and sisters too. But when it comes to speaking openly about childhood abuse (sexual, physical and psychological), I will fight to the death because of the impacts this has upon mental health.

Domestic abuse and sexual abuse happens in all homes, regardless of colour, but the issue with Black families is that we refuse to let victims/ survivers speak about it. Black women in DV relationships are called anti-Black and seen as betraying the culture if they go to the “White police” to report crimes against their partners; Black girls are also very often sexualised from very young ages and victim-blamed when they are abused. Many adult women – including myself – are forced to continue to suffer sexual abuse in silence, which has detrimental impacts upon our mental health and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

So when I see Black people denying my experiences, just because they (a) never experienced it themselves and (b) call people like me anti-Black for openly talking about my abusive childhood, it pisses me off.

So some people were not only trolling the girl who created the thread, they were also gloating about their unblemished childhoods to compare to ours in order to prove that our experiences never happened. Now I’m all for celebrating good parenting, especially within our community, however there is a time and a place for this… and this fucking wasn’t it. Plus the fact that she also made clear that this wasn’t relevant to all Black households, was completely ignored because apparently she added that part a day later. But so what? Any intelligent person reading the thread knew that it was implied.

There were a few supporters, however I confronted one person I follow, because she came across particularly as antagonist and antipathetic.

She then not only refused to see the issue from my perspective, she also tried to antagonise me, before eventually blocking me when she realised that I wasn’t going to rise to the bait.

As I said, instead of engaging in conversation, she tried to antagonise me. This woman is Mikki Kendall and I once followed her because she claims to be a Black feminist. But denying Black women the right to speak openly about the abuse they have suffered is anti-feminist as well as anti-Black. It is not anti-Black to say that our community is flawed, particularly when survivors like me are actually actively working to change those flaws by sharing our experiences and changing mindsets. And to block me just for disagreeing with your point of view is childish and ignorant:

I would imagine these are the same women who tell R Kelly’s victims to keep their mouths shut, because speaking badly about Black men in open spaces is anti-Black which is absolute bollocks.

Telling victims to shut up is also provoking further trauma to victims, which makes you just as bad as the perpetrators.

I can’t find the original thread now – unfortunately I forgot to retweet it while I was too busy defending the creator of the thread against the trolls, but to the girl who spoke up, WELL DONE, you’re a fucking legend and I stand by you 🖤 I hope you find healing as you continue on your journey and keep speaking up baby girl!

To the haters, keep your ignorant mouths shut until you educate yourself.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

My Mother & I (Parentification)

My mind is spinning, and I’ve tried to do some mindfulness; I’ve tried listening to music. I cannot even contemplate reading. I have so many questions that my inner- child needs answering; that only my mother can answer, so I’m waiting for her to call (I’ve sent her a message, I’m not just idly sitting by the phone).

Black women are forced into adulthood so rapidly, that we leave childhood behind without a chance to say goodbye. It’s all the more brutal when there is abusive involved. We are forced into an adult role before our time, while still within our childhood years, in order to help out a parent. Psychology calls this “Parentification”. Therefore, although I’ve now had many years to find an adult identity, my inner-child is still screaming for answers:

Why did my parents have me? Neither of them were psychologically capable of parenthood; So why?

 

Why didn’t my mother deal with her trauma, in order to allow us to then deal with mine together? 

 

Why does my mother deny my abuse? My pain? She confirms my anger, yet constantly denies my own trauma. 

 

My mother has never shown me any gratitude for being the adult she needed. Her response has always been:

“Well I never asked you to”. 

She’s never shown me any appreciation for my sacrifices. When I use the word “appreciation“, I do not mean being thankful or regarding me as her saviour; I mean showing a true understanding of the situation we were in: that I was a child who was being abused by her father, yet I heard my mother being abused simultaneously, therefore, I would sit up each night listening to make sure my mother was still alive. Then when my father walked out, I was forced to step up and never got to have a life of my own. I never got to deal with my own trauma, or my own struggles either (don’t forget that I was living in a religious home at the time, privately struggling with my feelings of queerness).

Speaking to a close mutual friend a couple of days ago, it’s pretty clear that my mother may not only ever accept the parentification I was subjected to, she may also ever appreciate the sacrifices of my inner-child. During our last conversation, she blamed previous generations for mistakes made and the impact this has had upon us on a family, because there is clearly a pattern of the same mistakes of abuse, being made over-and-over-and-over again, to which I replied:

“well then you lot shouldn’t have had children”.

7jjOb

She couldn’t argue with me then.

One final point I need to make: this close mutual friend mentioned that my mother rarely speaks about my father, or the abuse she suffered from him. This is one of my mother’s best friends. I call this woman Aunty – in fact, she’s like a mother to me. I go to her for guidance and advice as well as laughter and appraisal. She also constantly tells me off for swearing on social media!

My mother has known this lady for almost two decades.

My mother has been using it as an abusive weapon against me that I do no talk to her, when all this time hasn’t even been talking to her best friend. I knew that she did not talk to me (she became more restrained as I grew older), however I thought that it was for a number of reasons (e.g.manipulation), however I am surprised.

Yesterday, I went to an event on Self-Care for Black Women – which I will do a separate post on – and as Black women, we do carry a lot of pain because we don’t want to allow ourselves to feel it. Pain is so normal for us, we’ve actually forgotten to recognise its symptoms. We also do not talk to our own peers enough. My mother was subjected to abuse by her family as well as her husband, but she was coming to me for a listening-ear instead of people her own age.

blackpain_woman470x270

Image source

Do not stop talking Black women, as long as you are talking to the right people. 

XOXO

 

 

 

Posted in Blog

Black People, Who Are You Saving?

Since I became “woke”, I try not to use the term to describe myself, but here goes…

 

Since I became woke, I have been doing anything I can to emancipate my people.

Even before, I could never abide injustice, could never stand by and watch somebody be bullied; I’ve put livelihoods and my life on the line for people I love and care for, even if it means that they get the justice that they deserve while I suffer. I’m suffering for it now – I’m a shell of the person that I used to be, just for opening my mouth to speak up against racism and discrimination, not only for myself, but for others too.

 

But this suffering doesn’t deter me; I have my down days, but being more woke has made me more determined to fight for Black rights: dignity, equal opportunities in employment, disability rights, women’s rights, rights to mental health. The latter especially – oh my god – needs to be taken seriously, this country (U.K.) does not take on board the mental and physical impacts of racism. I’m still having nightmares about the racially stimulated psychological torture I went through during my Teacher Training year; I still also struggle with suicide ideation because of these experiences, yet last week after an assessment, I was rejected from Community Mental Health for although being severely mentally unstable, I was simultaneously too high functioning, and therefore unsuitable for their services.

 

Thankfully, as a Black community we’re finally beginning to talk about Black Mental Health, however this is after years of struggle. Some of us grew up with parents who struggled daily with undiagnosed psychiatric conditions, who were either too afraid to ask for help, for fear that their child(ren) would be taken away from them by the state, or like my mother, just prayed and left it to God instead. Which brings be to my next point.

 

Abuse.

 

We, as a community are infamous for covering up abuse; we “leave it to God”, when what we’re really saying is that we do not value our women and children. I read countless headlines about Black celebrities who are going to “pray for R Kelly”. Why? Why aren’t you going to publicly boycott his music and support his victims instead? Radio stations continue to play a known sex offender’s music and venues are continuing to stage his concerts. It’s disgusting. It makes me sick. This predator is making millions and his fans are also showing no signs to disappearing.  

What you are really saying is that you value rapists over our women.

Turning your back on a Black man who is a rapist or abuser or predator, is not saying that you have chosen to side with the White man (enemy).

What you are doing, is showing solidarity to a victim who needs it, while the abuser is finally getting the justice they deserve. Open your fucking eyes.

Terry Crews (Image source)

Terry Crews receives hate from his own kin. Now Terry Crews is a legend:

1200px-Terry_Crews_by_Gage_Skidmore_5

While an NFL Player, he also spoke out about the mistreatment players by some of the doctors and received an incredible backlash because just like Colin Kaepernick, many people in the Black community felt that Crews should kept his mouth shut, taken his cheque and played the game. Now Crews is suffering the same backlash again: Some Black people say that he should’ve kept his mouth closed about his assault. Why? Why are White people allowed to speak up and get so much support from their own, yet we throw our own under the bus? Some Black men are calling him a faggot for allowing the attack to even happen, while some Black women are telling him to keep quiet. Thankfully, there are some kin, like me, who see sense! Who see a man speaking up because he suffered an injustice, but unfortunately even as a man, his voice is incredibly small, very much like Lupita Nyong’o, who was assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, but not only was her story vehemently denied, it was also ignored… and I don’t need to spell out why.

Lupita_Nyong'o_May_2017

Lupita Nyong’o (Image source)

And it is not only celebrities that this is happening to; this happened to me and it’s happening to normal Black men and women every single day.

And I’ve had friends say to me, “well why didn’t you keep quiet?” instead of “don’t worry, I’ve got your back”, or even better: “let me take that baton from you” or EVEN BETTER: “where that bitch at? Ima smash her/him up for you.”. 

As Black people, we’re always looking around for somebody to save us, but I’m not entirely sure who you’re looking for, because as much as I love being an advocate, I’m pretty tired of fucking saving other people’s arses.

I’m tired and I have my own arse to save.

This is a fight that requires EVERYBODY in the Black community.

XOXO  

Posted in Blog

Parental Rejection

http://www.spring.org.uk/2016/10/rejection-parent-personality.php

I came across this article tonight after reading on Twitter that a friend of mine had finally been rejected by her father. I say finally, because it’s been a slow, drawn out process. The rest of her family have turned their backs on her following her transition (she’s transgender) and at first, her father was the bridge of support, claimed to attempt to support, to reach out to the other party, etc., etc. But then she had fears that he was pulling away – we didn’t want to believe it, especially me, having experienced it myself, but he was acting super sketchy and no longer being as supportive as he once was. 

Then tonight, he was no longer taking her calls. He’d cut her off. 

HIS OWN DAUGHTER. 

What kind of parents have children, only to reject them? Let’s forget that we’re adults, we’re still your children. Professor Ronald, co-author of the study in the article, says that it doesn’t matter what culture, race or class you come from (surprisingly, considering we’re talking about Psychology here!) rejection from a parental figure has a significant effect upon the development of your personality. Rejected children tend to be more anxious and insecure; it also makes us aggressive and angry – who do we trust? And why should we trust people? What if you let us down? 

Rohner then goes on to say:

“Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.”

According to the article, empirical research claims that the same parts of the brain activated for physical pain, are also activated for emotional pain. 

There are still days when I can’t breathe because the pain of separation is unbearable. 

I’m also finally coming to terms with being an orphan, because I never thought of my father rejecting me before. I’ve never had to deal with him walking out because I’ve always been so consumed with my mother’s failings, which the article discusses. 

Why do people even bother to have children? 

I’m sorry that this isn’t an uplifting post; I just can’t even…

I spent three days in bed with a post-stictal migraine, feeling like I’d had a stroke and not knowing what was going on, not knowing who I am, barely able to speak and the only thing I was sure of was that my parents didn’t love me. Because I get to relive that over and over again, especially when I’m too sick to escape my insecurities.  

Posted in Blog

My Wonderland: Finally Waking Up

I’ve always been an incredibly vivid dreamer.

Since I stopped talking to my sister, I’ve dreamt about her every single night. During the day (until recently) she is barely on my mind, however at night she is the most noticeable person in my consciousness. She doesn’t talk to me; If I try to, she’ll walk away from me. She doesn’t look at me either me. She just doesn’t acknowledge me.

I think we stopped talking in 2015.

Then last week, one night she looked at me. We were in a large house and I was trying to get out but I couldn’t find a way out, so I took the chance to ask her, expecting her not answer. She didn’t speak, but she did look at me.

Then the following night, I dreamt that I went out with her and her boyfriend and a friend of his, and although she wasn’t speaking directly to me, she was speaking to me within the group. We were looking at each other, laughing etc.

The following night I dreamt that she was heavily pregnant, and it was like no time had passed. I was holding her hand and touching her stomach. I could feel her baby kicking inside her stomach and we were excitedly talking about her due date which was rapidly approaching.

Each time I awake from these dreams, I wake up breathless and disoriented. However, this final one was the worse because I could feel it. The following day, I threw myself into my work to try to forget about, but then the evening came and I was too tired to escape it anymore. I lay in the bed in the dark, and sobbed for almost an hour. My heart was breaking and I very nearly picked up my phone, and called their house to see if she would pick up. However, I was frightened that my mother would pick up so I didn’t.

A couple of weeks ago, I told my partner that I would’ve died for my sister, and I repeated the statement again to a family friend over the weekend, when I told her about the dream. I also told her that I probably still would, however I’m now starting to reconsider that belief.

I hate referring to myself as a victim, but I am. And although I was abandoned my father, although it was my choice to cut ties with my mother, in my eyes I have no parents.

I still don’t really know why my sister hates me. My last conversation with her was her accusing me of faking my seizures for attention, and then telling me that she could no longer deal with my “shit” because I was too much of a burden, (but then the next day expecting me to pretend nothing had happened, without any apology). And one of my last conversations with my mother was her informing me that my sister had many grievances against me, which she was not privy to tell.

We grew up in the same household, had the same perspective of our mother, both wanted to escape, and yet something went terribly, terribly, wrong.

In 2016, after coming close to committing suicide and telling my mum that not being able to have a relationship with my sister was the reason, her response was:

“do you really think she would’ve cared if you’d killed yourself? She thinks you lied about your dad abusing you anyway.”

Of course she’ll deny that if you’ll ask her. Because that’s what they do.

Every time there’s a terrorist attack in London, I wonder to myself, don’t you guys ever wonder if I’m fucking okay? Are you really that fucking heartless? They know that I live in London. My partner actually said the other day that even if I did say that I didn’t want any contact, as a mother wouldn’t you fight? The last time I heard from my mother she wrote me a card telling me that she loves me, and God loves and forgives me. She didn’t apologise for saying that I was possessed by the devil though, and that watching horror movies had been the cause of of my epilepsy and therefore I had caused my own suffering. This is why I had asked her to stop sending me cards. 

If you’re going to continue to deny that there is something wrong with you and that you have abused me for thirty years and cannot apologise for that, then we cannot be friends, let alone mother and daughter.

I spoke one of my best friends over the weekend, who’s been with me through this entire journey and she said to me: if you go back to them, you’ll have yourself to blame when you get hurt again.

And she’s right. It hurts, but she’s right. I can’t go back. I can’t EVER go back.

I have to put myself first.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Growing Up Black

Black Girl (Image source)

I grew up wondering if we as black loved each other. In fact, I doubted it. I realise now that this was mostly because of how I was raised. 

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon some videos of Michael Jackson talking about the psychological abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, Joseph. In these clips, the example he used was how Joseph used constantly to pick on him for the shape of his nose.

The abuse had such a psychological impact on him, that it led to years of surgery on his nose.

The response to these video clips, were incredibly open, honest and encouraging towards Michael, from hundreds of black people who, as little boys and girls, had grown up being taunted by their parents for their facial features, their weight, even their hair (I was shocked to read of parents referring to own children’s hair as “nappy hair”). I read Nina Simone’s autobiography in July, and her mother was her first bully, who criticised her dark skin and nappy hair. Nina’s mental health issue’s began with her upbringing. Like Michael Jackson, by the time she became a superstar it didn’t matter that the world loved her because the psychological damage was already done. 

My mother was a great encourager of my intelligence. She always used to call me a little professor because of my glasses, and when she found out in primary school that the teachers were refusing to give me harder books to read, she marched to the school and demanded for me to be intellectually challenged, just like she was doing for me at home! She would buy me as many books as she could get her hands on when she could afford it.

However, when it came to beauty, I felt taunted. She would call me fat and tell me to stop eating too much.

Even when I wasn’t eating. 

Everybody would say that my younger sister was the prettier one, so I guess that’s why I became a tomboy – I was rough, clumsy and forgetful. I hated dresses, but actually didn’t mind Barbie dolls, as long as I could cut their hair and give them jobs LOL.

When my parents split up, she would tell me that I looked like my father, which was devastating for me as a teenager, yet everybody I know sees my sister and my mum in my face and I’m now starting to agree.

Every time I got spot she would be the first to tell me.

Every time I put on weight she would be the first to tell me.

I recall the summer during the height of my eating disorder when I was purging and over exercising, at my lowest weight and my mother never said a thing.

She would however constantly compare me to my sister: why can’t you be more girly like her? Why can’t you be slimmer like her? When my sister fell down the same path, she threw compliments down the path like a paparazzi stream, knowing that my sister wasn’t eating properly either.

I don’t really know what to say about my father. His torture took years to recover from, to the point where even up to perhaps last year I was apologising to strangers before I’d even had a chance to disappoint them. And I finally stopped blaming myself for the abuse in my late-twenties, which unfortunately is a common poison in Black culture (victim blaming).

It took for me to read the words of Maya and Assata to learn not to walk with my head down, and to walk tall. Their grandmothers taught them not to be ashamed of who they are, and now from the grave I’m being taught the same. I walk the streets of London, with my hair scraped up and no makeup on my face and my head held high and for the first time in my life I feel beautiful.

I see out of the corner of my eye, people do double takes as I walk past (wooooo).

I don’t pay no mind – I just carry on walking.

I’m so thankful for this new generation of Black People, who love ourselves and love each other. It’s sad that some of us have skipped a generation for our education, but I’m just thankful that it’s THERE. Black love is real love.

When Assata was in her final prison, it was Grandmother who spoke these words to her:

““I love you,” my grandmother said. “We don’t want you to get used to that place, do you hear? Don’t you let yourself get used to it.” “No, grandmommy, I won’t.” Every day out in the street now, i remind myself that Black people in amerika are oppressed. It’s necessary that I do that. People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.” – Assata: An Autobiography (2016) by Assata Shakur, Angela Davis

I can’t be angry at my mother – just like Joseph Jackson, as black immigrants they believed in the false narrative that  “being white” equates to success; my mother believed in white supremacist lies that told her that we had to conform to certain labels, and the older I get, the more I realise how many Black People are psychologically oppressed by that system as they forever try to conform. It got me thinking about mental health: black adults have every right to be angry for the persecution they have suffered at the hands of the white man or Black culture and they have a breakdown.

You will know from my previous posts, that Psychology has failed people of colour when it comes to mental health. For whatever reason – whether it be internalised racism, childhood abuse – we suffer a breakdown and go and see a Psychiatrist for help, but instead of being listened to, we get given a label that doesn’t apply to us because these labels don’t understand white supremacy, parental abuse in Black Culture, the Black community in general or even religion. The psychiatrist prescribes the medication anyway, which doesn’t work and as the years go by, the black patient’s condition deteriorates until they become the disregarded “crazy black bitch/dude on the street who’s always outside Sainsbury’s”.

 

Which is why I’ve now decided that I want to work with adults in Mental Health.

 

♥ We shouldn’t have to bring ourselves up – we deserve a proper childhood. 

♥ We deserve proper mental health care and deserve to be listened to. 

♥ We should be able to have access to psychiatrists who understand our culture. 

We need to know how to educate our children

XOXO