One Black Man's Story

One Black Man's Story

Writer Mychal Denzel Smith is one of thousands of brothers to experience the pain of depression...and one of the ones brave enough to share his story

Mychal Denzel Smith

by Mychal Denzel Smith, July 02, 2012

One Black Man's Story

It's hard to answer the question "what's wrong" when nothings right.

troubles away."    

No, Gil, they won't.    

I suffered in silence. I started surrounding myself with people but failed to feel the human touch that I longed for, the touch that could save me. I was drinking more. I got high for the first time.    

"Justin, take me to the hospital!" I yelled at my roommate. My heart, so far as I could tell, was beating outside of my chest. My nostrils were closing. Oxygen stopped flowing to my brain. This was the end.  

Thank God I was delusional. It wasn't death. What it was was a loud-ass wake-up call. I couldn't keep everything inside any longer. Unexpressed emotions can and will rip your insides apart and set your mind against itself, turning yourself into your own worst enemy. Despite what the depression may tell you, there is nothing healthy about that. When you recognize that, when you can see clearly that you're in a space that is killing you, you get help.    

There would be more tears, more hospital visits, more panic attacks, more sleepless nights, hours of therapy, and countless notebook pages filled before I could say I was "OK." I had to see the bottom and its infinite despair before I could give what I felt a name. My friend and mental health advocate Bassey Ikpi helped give me the courage to speak out openly, honestly, and publicly about all that I had gone through. I’ll never be “cured” of anxiety or depression, but it is no longer debilitating. I get better every day. And that’s all I can ask for.

July 2nd is No Shame Day, created by Bassey Ikpi of the Siwe Project to encourage Black people to eradicate the stigma around mental illness. Click here to learn more.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer, social commentator and mental health advocate. Visit his official website or follow him on Twitter.

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