What Kid Cudi Showed Us About Being a Black Man With Depression
I’m going to be honest: I live with chronic depression and generalized anxiety disorder, and I’ve tried ending my life quite a few times. And yes, I’m a man, and a person of color.
But you see even admitting that reality can mentally take a toll on me.
To live within this blackness, to already feel like we’re not enough because of our skin color and the systemic institutionalized racism we face, can make us feel like admitting we struggle with a mental illness means we’ve given ourselves to defeat. What black man wants to admit defeat after all we already struggle with? Tell me.
Because on top of having to do everything “twice as well,” we have to follow what society and our black community deems as “what a man really is.” I know this. I’ve seen it. Don’t tell me I haven’t. I feel it daily. I live with being a man of color who is vocal about my struggle, and I get the fear.
You worry your boys are going to talk down to you. You think you’re gonna lose that hard earned respect you were taught you had to fight for since day one, and that that badge of honor you carry of “being a man” somehow makes you indestructible to illnesses that are impossible to see.
You believe no one would want you — in a job, in a relationship, in family, let alone in this world. And so just like you were taught as a young boy that “big boys don’t cry,” that you ought to “man up” and get through it, that no man can ride through this life like it’s easy, that to show one bit of vulnerability makes you a disgrace to everyone you love, you shut up and you act like “everything’s all good.”
Bro, stop it.
You heard me.
Stop lying to yourself.
You’re not less of a man for asking for support.
How do you think MLK Jr., Michael Jordan or any one of our black male celebrities became who they are? They didn’t just do it all by themselves: The brothers had support. What’s more, they asked for it.
You can’t just keep going through living with a mental illness by yourself without any support like “you got this.” I know you got this. I do. But I just want to make this clear cause let’s be honest, we were never taught this: there is no shame in getting support. There’s no shame in sharing the heaviness there can be when living with a mental illness.
Kid Cudi showed that, and I’m saying it to you right now.
Because you’re right: life ain’t easy.
And because I want to know that when I ask you if #YouGoodMan, you’ll feel “man enough” to say “no,” so that we you can get the support you need to get you through this.
Because you deserve to be the man you want to be.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
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Image via Kid Cudi‘s Facebook