The importance of reversing the stigma of mental health

Sarah-Renee Garner  is a junior mass communication major from Dallas, Texas.

With the start of SarahSays, I wanted to stray away from being a relationship advice column, or a column festering gossip, but this week’s submission was something I think we as young students should speak on: our mental health, and how our mental health affects those around us.

There is no way anyone can deny the stigma associated with mental illness/ poor mental health in the black community, but as millennials (and some of us Gen Z’ers), we have to continue to reverse this stifling ideal that was engrained in us as black people.

This submission asked about how we as a community can draw the line between being mentally exhausted, and simply not giving the best that we’ve got. Further, it delved into our relationships with others, while we are experiencing some issues with our mental health.

I am not a therapist, and I cannot diagnose anyone with a mental illness, but I can give my experience.

It is completely fine to push yourself to work hard, as tenacity is an important quality, but sometimes, I think we push ourselves too hard out of fear of regression.

For me, I know that I always bite off more than I can chew, and I always feel overwhelmed and overworked, which leads me to feeling like “well, if I cannot multi-task with things like this, how can I ever have a quick paced job in my field?” Then, when I dial back for the sake of my mental health, I feel like I have let people down, and that I am lazy, which makes me feel inadequate.

I still struggle with finding that balance, but a balance needs to be found. We are still young and we have so much life to live and so many experiences that we have not discovered yet. As young black people, our parents taught us that we do not get the luxury of making mistakes. While some of that is true, needing to step back for you is not a mistake.

We may not be able to make legal mistakes without receiving harsh repercussions, but we are allowed to feel weak. We are allowed to make mistakes now, in fact, it is encouraged.

These feelings of inadequacy will not go away, no matter how badly you want them to, but they are in a way a good sign.

This feeling keeps me from becoming complacent in my situation. Even though I completely hate feeling inadequate, I like something that motivates me to come out of my mental health situation, oh, therapy is a great idea too, probably the best.

– Sarah-Renee Garner  is a junior mass communication major from Dallas, Texas.