Happy Easter everyone. I hope you had a lovely one. Mine was lovely mainly because I got to unwind for the first time in months. It’s amazing how little time I have left to relax outside of work and study. I barely have time to blog #thehorror. As a result, I find my stress levels are much higher than usual. While pondering life, love and the big question the other day I seriously considered seeing a psychologist. It is a consideration that has crossed my mind a few times.
I haven’t had the courage to go as yet but there is something very appealing about the idea of speaking to an objective stranger who can dissect the situation for me. I have no doubt that shrinks do not have magic powers to fix people, emotions or situations. However, I imagine they do provide a channel to address these things, if only by allowing one to talk and work through the issue. Perhaps, the correct way to put it is that they break the issue down into bite-size chunks. At least I hope that is what they do.
Anyway, all that aside, what I found the most interesting about all of this were the various reactions from my friends when I mentioned the possibility of seeing a shrink. Only one responded instantly with “I really think you should do it.” The rest of the reactions went along the following lines:
Friend 1: “(long silence after I spoke and then in a quiet voice)… have you tried praying instead?”
Friend 2: “Hai Chu, that stuff is for white people. Black people don’t do that.”
Friend 3: “Don’t you think that’s a bit too drastic?”
Friend 4: This one didn’t say much more than OK in response to my statement but most the conversations between us that followed felt a lot like “state of my mental health” addresses.
I confess I am highly amused by these responses but they do point to a deep rooted stigma when it comes to addressing matters of mental well-being. Is it perhaps an admission of weakness on my part to want to seek professional help? Perhaps. But is it beneficial to bottle it all inside and hope that it goes away? If it goes away then that would be fabulous. But what happens if it doesn’t? Praying is all important but is it not so that God helps those who help themselves? If I pray for fried chicken but I don’t kill it, cook it or go buy it there will be no fried chicken na be so? As for the comment that it is for white people…. so is English and yet here I am writing and sharing with people of many races in English. There are things I will happily leave to white people…like crocs! Those things are dreadful. I can gamble with shoes but should I gamble with my overall well-being on the basis of race? Is it drastic? Maybe. But think of the number of people who suddenly and inexplicably kill themselves and the words on everyone’s lips are “why didn’t they ask for help?”