Sheriden Garrett

@sheriden-garrett | contributor

‘Racial Battle Syndrome': Mental Health Struggle We Don't Talk About

It’s no secret that being black in America can have a damaging effect on mental health. According to Imani Walker, D.O., psychiatrist and star of Bravo’s latest spin-off, “Married to Medicine: Los Angeles,” the struggle of being black in America may cause a mental health struggle we don’t talk about — racial battle syndrome. For those who have never heard the term, Dr. Walker explained, “Racial battle syndrome is a maelstrom of frustrations and feelings of inadequacies based on this country’s lack of action to acknowledge that we matter.” Similar to the term “racial battle fatigue,” coined by William A. Smith, Ph.D., “racial battle syndrome” draws its name from the similarities of trauma experienced by combat survivors. Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is commonly associated with combat survivors of war, but what some may not realize is that the effects of war can be experienced in a racial context as well. Black people endure a different kind of “war” in their backyards at the hands of violence, injustices, oppression, systemic racism and microaggressions. As a result of this, black people are often left with unresolved and sometimes unacknowledged trauma that they carry with them. In a study  on inherited trauma following the Holocaust, researchers found that people whose parents survived the Holocaust had alterations in their genes because of the stress and trauma their parents endured. Walker believes the findings from this study can apply to black folks in America. For example, she believes certain mental disorders like depression are embedded in our DNA. Walker told The Mighty: I think the same definitely applies to African-Americans. Not only were we ripped from whichever West African nation we originally came from, and then we got over here and we’re made to work for free and treated subhuman and inhuman, and then you’re raped and your children are ripped from you – these things are embedded in our DNA and when it comes to mental illness, we shun it. We don’t want to talk about it, we don’t even want to acknowledge it’s an issue. If you aren’t sure what qualifies as a microaggression, Derald Wing Sue Ph.D. defines it as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Microaggressions tend to be subtle and can range from comments like “You’re pretty for a black girl” and “Where are you from? You sound so articulate” to “I don’t see color. There’s one race, the human race.” Actions like grabbing your purse closer to you when you see a person of color or following them around the store are also microaggressions. Macroaggressions differ from microaggressions as they are more overt or large-scale aggressions targeted to a group of people based on race, culture or gender. As such, macroaggressions are more reflective of systemic injustice and participation in the oppression of structural racism. Macroaggressions are intentional, persistent and malicious. They can look like the use of the “n” word towards black people as a slur, being excluded from employment opportunities due to discriminatory work practices put in place about hair, etc. A larger scale example is the way black people tend to be criminalized and given longer sentences for offenses than their white counterparts. “The easy things to deal with are macroaggressions, but when you deal with microaggressions, you’re dealing with another kind of gaslighting,” Walker said. “Then you have a situation where black people are the biggest living survivors of PTSD. Ever.” In addition to racial battle syndrome, black people are likely to experience other mental health struggles. According to Mental Health America, black adults are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than white adults, and often struggle more with the stigma of seeking psychological help. Ultimately, Walker believes the power to rehabilitate and heal lies within the collective. In addition to therapy, regaining a strong sense of pride in the black identity and loving and celebrating oneself is at the top of her list. “We’re surviving. A dog can live on the street. That’s surviving. That’s not thriving. We’re surviving – that’s cool and everything – but we need to thrive,” she said. If you’re finding it hard to thrive due to struggles with depression or PTSD, you’re not alone. There are resources available to help you on your journey. Contact a trained crisis counselor by texting CONNECT to 741741. Or check out some additional resources here below: Therapy for Black Girls Therapist Directory Mental Health Among African-American Women

19 Texts to Send Your Friend With BPD Who's Feeling Suicidal

One of the most powerful things you can do for someone in need is to help them remember they are not alone. Whenever someone is feeling suicidal, showing support to them can be the lifeline they didn’t know they needed during their most trying times. But let’s be real, it can be hard to put together words you think your friend or loved one might want to hear. To you, words might seem empty, or pale in comparison to the gravity of the storm of emotions your friend might feel in their darkest moments. But t o someone living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) struggling with suicidal thoughts, a text can often mean the difference between feeling worthless and realizing they are indeed worth it. So that 30-second text you’re thinking of sending can actually mean the world to your friend. For the times where you want to be there but don’t really know where to begin, we have some text examples for you! We asked members of our BPD community to fill us in on the words they like to hear most when they’re feeling suicidal. Here’s what they had to say: 1. “You matter to me.” 2. “People need you. You are loved and you are not alone.” 3. “You are stronger than you think. Pull deep for that strength.” 4. “My world would be nothing without you.” 5. “I love you and want you in my life.” 6. “Even if it seems small to others, I can understand it’s big for you. You are doing your best and I am here to listen.” 7. “You being around is good for me and not hurting me.” 8. “You make me happy as a person.” 9. “I value you.” 10. “I’m here for you.” 11. “We’re in this together. We will get through this.” 12. “I’ll be with you the entire time.” 13. “You may not know it, you may not see it, but you make a difference in this world that cannot be replaced.” 14. “You’re here for a reason. I need you in my life.” 15. “You’re important.” 16. “You are lovable, even in your darkest moments.” 17. “I promise you’ll be OK. We just have to make it through the next second, the next minute, then the next hour.” 18. “Do you want me to come over?” 19. “You have this, it’s not over yet. You are the little engine that could.” If you’re struggling to find the words to say to your friend with BPD who’s feeling suicidal, you’re not alone. It can be difficult to put into words what someone’s presence in your world might mean to you. The most important thing in these trying times is to remind your friend or loved one of their worth and to help them feel like you — less alone. Finding the right words to say is half the battle. Now all you have to do is press “send.” What are some texts you like to receive in times of need? Let us know in the comments down below.

5 Common Phobias We Don't Talk About

Oftentimes when we hear the word “phobia,” our minds tend to go to one of two places: claustrophobia (fear of confined or crowded spaces) or arachnophobia (fear of spiders). However, these two aren’t the only phobias out there — in fact, they just barely scratch the surface. The reality is, there are a lot of common phobias we don’t talk about that can be just as debilitating. According to licensed clinical social worker Ken Goodman , the author of The Anxiety Solution Series , phobias tend to begin as anxiety and turn into phobias when people actively avoid things that provoke their anxiety. A scary experience usually triggers a person’s phobia. For example, if you were to have an episode of severe vomiting that led to a panic attack, you might develop an irrational fear of vomiting and avoid going places where you think you might vomit. “When people begin to avoid, the fear turns into a phobia, and if severe, can be so debilitating it can alter the course of their life,” Goodman told The Mighty. In order to expand the conversation about phobias, we asked Goodman to talk to us about five phobias we don’t often hear about — but are actually more common than we think. In addition to his insight, we turned to our community to share their experiences with these phobias in their own lives. Here’s what Goodman and our community had to say: 1. Monophobia Monophobia is the debilitating fear of being alone. Not to be confused with loneliness, people with monophobia struggle to cope with daily life without someone close by — whether that be a specific person, or just any person at all. Also referred to as “autophobia,” monophobia exists on a spectrum. For some, monophobia might entail being in the house with a specific person or loved one. For others, monophobia might manifest so intensely that they cannot even use the bathroom without someone sharing that space with them. P eople with monophobia may experience severe a nxiety over the thought of being left alone or being abandoned. According to Goodman, some folks with monophobia fear that if something bad happened to them, no one would be there to help them through it. Mighty community member Trinnity M. explained that her fear of being alone goes deeper than that. “I have a fear of being alone. Not necessarily [being] by myself in a room, but being forgotten,” she wrote. “The thought of having no one to go through my life with me personally.” When left alone, many folks with monophobia may feel like they can’t breathe, or feel dizzy or faint. If you are struggling with the fear of being left alone or forgotten, you are not alone. Check out some helpful resources below. The Fear of Being Alone Do You Have A Legit Fear Of Being Alone? 2. Hodophobia Hodophobia, or the fear of travel, is another common phobia we don’t talk about enough. This intense fear is generally rooted in not wanting to leave one’s comfort zone, often due to the fear of experiencing a panic attack during travel. People living with hodophobia might experience symptoms like stomachaches, headaches, shortness of breath or diarrhea when faced with the prospect of leaving their home or visiting new places. Some folks with hodophobia have a fear associated with specific modes of travel, i.e. only planes or buses, while others fear all trips. For people who experience hodophobia, there is an irrational need to be close to home just in case a panic attack does occur. Melissa E., a member of our anxiety community, provided further insight into the damaging effects of this particular phobia. “I absolutely despise traveling whether it be a car or a plane just the thought of going anywhere outside my ‘safe bubble’ sends me into a panic,” she said. Treatment for hodophobia typically involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Clinicians will work with clients to navigate anxiety responses when faced with the trigger of travel. 3. Emetophobia The fear of vomit or vomiting is called emetophobia. According to Goodman, people who have emetophobia are “constantly on alert for the possibility of vomit and [become] convinced they will vomit when they feel nauseous, even when they have not vomited for years or decades.” In terms of symptoms, emetophobia tends to manifest through behaviors intended to keep them “safe” from vomiting. That might look like staying at home, confining yourself to a specific “safe” room, or sleeping with a bucket or a towel near you at night in case you become sick. Things like long car rides or new buildings might make you anxious, and you might even feel compelled to find the nearest restroom just in case you have to use it. Megs B., a member of The Mighty’s anxiety community, shared how emetophobia impacts her own life day-to-day. Vomit. The sound, smell, talking about it, seeing it. I used to run away when my brothers were sick. It’s even worse now that I am a mom. One time, my son got so dehydrated from a stomach bug that it was almost fatal. Now when my kids even mention their stomachs hurting, I go into a panic attack. I completely freeze and shut down. I don’t sleep that night for fear of my kids getting sick. I have an empathetic husband who automatically steps in and helps out. It’s horrifyingly embarrassing how I respond. Racing heart, tense muscles, shaking; it’s PTSD now on top of the original phobia. If you can relate to Megs’ story, you aren’t alone. The Mighty has a wealth of contributor stories to remind you that you aren’t the only one experiencing this phobia. Check out some of those resources below. The Reality of Emetophobia and How I’m Beating It I Can’t ‘Just Vomit:’ The Dilemma of GERD and Emetophobia The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety and Emetophobia 4. Cleithrophobia The fear of being trapped, or cleithrophobia, might sound similar to claustrophobia but it differs slightly. Instead of fearing being trapped in closed spaces like an elevator or a closet, people with cleithrophobia fear being trapped in open spaces. Think movie theaters, shopping malls, stadiums, casinos, freeway traffic and underground parking. Cleithrophobia typically stems from a fear or childhood trauma that felt inescapable, and can be triggered when an individual feels like there is no escape. “It has more to do with the ability to get out quickly,” Goodman explained. “People feel the need to get out quickly should they experience an emergency: panic, chest pressure, lightheaded, nausea.” Additional symptoms include crying, trying to escape by running away, lashing out physically and screaming. One member of The Mighty’s mental health community, Irusta A., described her experience with living with cleithrophobia, saying, It makes me anxious just thinking about it. The fear of so many people and something happening and not being able to escape it… I have to know all my exit options in the event I am in this situation. Cleithrophobia is more common than we might think and if you find yourself in the throes of this phobia, you aren’t alone. Treatment for this phobia typically involves cognitive behavioral therapy to address and navigate anxiety responses to triggers. 5. Social Phobia Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is an intense form of anxiety caused by social interactions. Social phobia can make social situations feel unbearable due to the irrational fear of being judged. People who have social phobia tend to avoid social situations whenever possible because of the negative feelings being judged or rejected could evoke — inferiority, inadequacy, humiliation or embarrassment. Social situations that might be triggering for someone with social phobia or social anxiety may include going to work or school, dating, attending functions with unfamiliar people and using a public restroom. Social anxiety can affect quality of life for many people. An anonymous member of The Mighty’s anxiety community shared how it affects her everyday life . I lack confidence in my ability to speak correctly. There are times when I want to say something, but I hold back because I’m afraid of sounding silly or not being understood. I tend to be afraid of making phone calls, approaching people, speaking in a group, being put on the spot, checking out at the store, ordering at a restaurant, job interviews and so on. This doesn’t make me childish or “crazy.” I have anxiety, and sometimes it gets the best of me. Social phobia often manifest physically in the form of blushing, sweating, trembling, nausea or upset stomach, muscle tension and an increased heart rate. If you are struggling with a phobia and it is interfering with your quality of life, there is help available to you. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), one of the most effective treatments for most phobias is exposure therapy. To read personal accounts of people who have lived with phobias, check out the following stories. How My Life Has Changed After Developing a Phobia Why You Should Never Make Fun of Someone With a Phobia How OCD and a Phobia Almost Took My Life

10 'Harmless' Comments POC Are Tired of Hearing About Mental Health

What some people might not realize is race often plays a major role in your mental health. For people of color (POC), mental health struggles are multilayered, often affected by microaggressions, racism and oppression they can face in their daily lives. What’s even more damaging is the fact that the stigma surrounding mental health in POC spaces makes it difficult to navigate mental illnesses with support. That’s why “harmless” comments people make to POC struggling with their mental health can really add insult to injury. Comments like “you’re a strong black woman,” “pray on it” or “our people don’t do therapy” can be particularly damaging to people of color who wish to seek help for their mental health issues. In the wake of these perceptions, people of color are often left invalidated and isolated. Some of these “harmless” comments are things licensed clinical social worker Tamika Lewis knows all too well. She told The Mighty, There are two words I have intentionally eliminated from my vocabulary; the words “crazy” and “strong.” Women of color are tired of feeling like they’re “crazy.” We are socialized to power through, often winded by stress and high demands. We feel tired and secretly long for compassion, yet everywhere we turn, from family members to media, we are reminded that vulnerability is weakness, that the need to “be strong” is critical to our survival. One of my clients who endured years of microaggressions in the workplace [said, “I’m tired of being strong”]. I watched her unravel during a recent session, unpacking what seemed to be years of emotion. I was reminded of the tremendous need for more spaces where POC can let go. Where their experiences can be validated and not written off as “crazy.” To open up the discussion about what “harmless” comments POC hear, we turned to our  mental health community.  Below you can read what they had to say. What “harmless” comments have you heard about your mental health? Let us know in the comments below. Here’s what our community shared with us: 1. “That’s a white person thing.” “I had multiple people say, ‘Depression/anxiety is for white kids. Stop acting white and suck it up.’” — TJ W. “I never get ‘harmless’ ones, mine are always straight out wrong. Things like, ‘Bipolar is such a white girl thing.’” — Sunshine M. 2. “No one in our family has mental health issues.” “I don’t know how you got ___ no one in our family has it. You don’t need therapy.” — Christina W. 3. “Pray about it.” “Being told to pray about it or ‘Give it to God.’ Prayer may be an effective tool for some, but for me, I found refuge in copious amounts of therapy, which isn’t popular in my black family.” — Khaliah “Definitely family suggesting I just needed to pray it better. Prayer has its part for some. Medication and therapy has its vital part for others.” — AG B. “Our people seek God, not therapy. Therapy is the devil.” — Ann R. 4. “You’re not having a crisis.” “It is well-researched that mental health needs of POCs aren’t always taken as seriously. Particularly the treatment of black men. Black men globally are still racistly viewed as being ‘violent’ or ‘aggressive.’ Episodes are then not viewed as a mental health crisis, instead criminalized with deadly consequences.” — AG B. 5. “Your people are strong.” “‘Your people are strong’ or any variant of that. Seemingly a compliment and meant well, but it also condescends me.” — Christopher A. “I had non-colored friends say, ‘I wasn’t expecting that. I just assumed black people were all tough.’ It all just makes me feel even worse for being depressed. When I was younger, and even into my late 20s, I had to repress any feelings of anxiety or depression because I would instantly be hit with one of those comments or would hear it in the back of my head.” — TJ W. “I’m half-white, half-Korean. I don’t get a lot because I pass as white even though I do look a little Asian. But I once got a comment about how it’s surprising someone raised by an ‘Asian tiger mom’ could get anxiety. Yeah, I don’t get it either.” — Lee B. 6. “You’re a Strong Black Woman.” “[I’m] sick of the ‘Strong Black Woman’ narrative. Am I not allowed to be soft? To be vulnerable? To be held in someone’s arms?” — Tracey S. “I’m a Black woman who was just diagnosed with Bipolar 1 (within the last 2 weeks) after over 10 years of being misdiagnosed and outright dismissed, including a doctor who said to ‘just tough it out with your mood swings, since you’re a single mom with stress like everyone else in your position.’ The stereotype of the Strong Black Woman who endures all with no help is incredibly harmful.” — DeShon M. 7. “Your generation has no reason to be depressed.” “Family members and older people of color have said, ‘You have no reason to be depressed. We and your ancestors went through stuff that is way worse, so get over it.’” — TJ W. 8. “Your issues don’t exist.” “The best part was when I was in the hospital a few years back, and my family all came and said how much they loved me and then proceeded to stop inviting me to any family functions and pretended I didn’t exist anymore. Black families are the best when it comes to mental health…” — TJ W. “I am a Black woman. I am tired of the shame-based stigmas within my community surrounding mental health. I have bipolar 1, and I had to seek out therapy on my own. I had zero support from my family. They knew I had behavioral problems, however, they were too afraid of their social status and kept me isolated.” — S. 9. “Transgenerational trauma isn’t real.” “Saying transgenerational trauma isn’t a thing. It hurts because there was a stolen generation and it still affects people today. No one thinks it was.” — Natasha R. 10. “Get over it.” “‘You need to stop making a big deal out of everything, get over it.’ Sometimes even the littlest things can be a big deal to someone with anxiety. It makes me feel guilty and frustrated because they don’t understand I can’t help it sometimes. I do my best to not let my anxiety affect me but sometimes it just does even if the reason seems ridiculous.” — Kaylala H. As you can see, these seemingly ‘harmless’ comments can actually feel quite harmful to the person you’re saying them to. If you are struggling to feel support during your time of need, you’re not alone and your feelings and experiences are valid — no matter your color. Unfortunately, POC experience this very commonly due to mental health issues being shrouded in shame and stigma, especially by older generations. If you are in need of support on your journey, check out some of the resources down below. 8 Useful Apps to Help Support Your Mental Health When You’re Scared to Recover From Depression 14 Mental Health Apps People Living With Mental Illnesses Recommend

11 Things People With BPD Do That Mean 'I'm Splitting'

If you live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), “splitting” may be something you can relate to. For those who may not know, splitting is essentially categorizing things (or people)  as good or bad — your classic all-or-nothing situation. With splitting, there is no gray area. For example, a “bad” person does “bad” things, a “good” person does “good” things. While splitting is common in folks with BPD, it’s important to remember not everyone with BPD “splits” and not everyone who experiences splitting has BPD (this can manifest in people who experienced childhood trauma and/or live with other mental illnesses). Splitting is often a response to to the fear of rejection, abandonment or any other potential emotional trauma. It’s a common reaction and is often a subconscious layer of protection for the person so they can avoid feeling hurt or being rejected/abandoned. We wanted to know what things people with BPD do that mean they are splitting, so we turned to our BPD community. Below you can read what they shared with us. Here are some things people with BPD do that mean, “I’m splitting”: 1. Saying Hurtful Things “I say hurtful things to get out my pain, then almost immediately apologize and beg them not to leave.” — Megan G. “I become vile to them. I say horrible things that will make them want to leave me. So that way I don’t have to muster up the courage to leave myself and I’d have someone to blame other than myself.” — Kady L. “Being a complete ass and then feeling way worse about it later when I realize I overreacted. Then I just dwell on it.” — Mercedes R. 2. Being Emotionally Detached From Others “My replies become cold and one-worded or I just straight up end up ignoring the person because I feel so hurt and offended. I have learned to notice it so now I take a step back and get my mind straight before saying another word.” — Kristina J. “I get distant and cold, and I don’t want to be touched. I get an attitude and act out sometimes. Or I’ll simply shut them out for a couple minutes/hours to avoid saying something I’ll regret. Other times I’m way too nice and I feel really really obligated to please other people and I have tons of energy. My mood tracker app that I use has captured my extreme highs and lows and it looks like a heart monitor almost.” — Holly B. “I become extremely detached from people around me, especially my girlfriend. She seems to [be able to] tell something is off and pushes to be near me to keep the connection. After I start to come back, it’s like I’m discovering love for the first time and it’s extremely intense.” — Carol J. 3. Overanalyzing “I start over-correcting everything. Every tiny thing that’s happening. And I never feel like I’m understood, so I explain everything three times over. It just turns into me stating facts on different ways until I notice that I’m doing it at all.” — Amy H. “I start to overthink everything when I am splitting. Everything has to be wrong, even if it’s not I find a way to convince myself it is.” — Molly S. 4. “Ghosting” People “If I’m splitting on someone, I typically stop associating and stop talking to them altogether, and sometimes [go] so far as to ghost them. As I would rather cut it off then be snappy or irritable to them, which typically if I don’t cut it off at that point, I’ll end up sabotaging things in worse ways anyway. So cutting off and ghosting spares and prevents the sabotage and shame spiral that might otherwise occur… Splitting means my walls go up full force.” — David M. 5. Getting Irritable “I get very quiet because I get a sudden wave of annoyance or irritability and I know that if I don’t remove myself from their presence, I’ll say something I definitely do not mean.” — Shanny J. “I start even hating how they breathe, walk, talk, their voice grates my ears. It’s like I want to punch the person really bad no matter what they do. Then I feel guilty because I know it’s not their fault that I’m reacting so violently to something that could’ve been simple.” — Marie L. 6. Exploding at Little Things “I’ll explode at something little. One day, I was watching TV with my fiance and baby, and I missed a part of the show and he said he would rewind it and I told him not to and when he started to (trying to be nice), I just broke and started screaming ‘no’ and crying. I don’t even know if it was because of the show.” — Hannah H. “I yell and punch things! I’ve broken my hand more than once because of it!” — Amber G. “My anger. Sensory overload is the worst for me. Once I hit my breaking point, it’s like a runaway train.” — Kristy H. 7. Blocking People on Social Media “I tend to block their Facebook, phone number, etc. And once I ‘get over’ my anger, I apologize and undo those things.” — Tara M. “My favorite person will suddenly become someone I don’t want in my life anymore so I’ll delete him off Facebook and stop all communication until the flip switches again. When it does, I’ll send him a friend request again and a message saying ‘Hey, Add me back already.’ He always does and we continue like nothing happened.” — Kristin H. 8. Canceling Plans “Have them reduce hours they want to hang out or have them cancel plans so then I’ll push them away but after a few hours at worst, pull them back in to hang out again and telling them how much I love them and how much they mean to me.” — Beau B. 9. Isolating “I withdraw contact for days/weeks until I feel I am through the worst of it. I literally just go quiet and avoid the person until I feel it’s passed.” — Sammie P. “If I feel myself splitting, I feel and back off and figure that s*** out, before I react verbally or and other behaviors. I try to work my skills, and I don’t want to end up on any of the edges on the BPD spectrum.” — Bill G. 10. Jumping to Conclusions “I start to panic and have racing thoughts about the reason I’m splitting (i.e. ‘Why don’t they want to hang out?’ ‘What did I do?’ ‘I know why! I’m not a good person! I hate myself.’ ‘They’re better off without me.’) A snowball from hell.” — Mackenzie C. “Having difficulty separating reality and fiction. Making assumptions in my head. Jumping to conclusions about things and feeling like they are real. Example: ‘[My] boyfriend hasn’t texted me all day, he must not love me anymore or I must be annoying him.’ Jumping from extremes. Idolizing someone you care about and loving them so intensely that it triggers your fear of abandonment and then you start devaluing the same person you love so much out of fear, thinking they are going to leave you.” — Cassy R. 11. Feeling Physically Repulsed By Someone “When I split on someone, I get physically disgusted by them. Just repulsed; don’t want them sitting by me, touching me or talking. Sometimes it only lasts a couple hours, but one time it lasted two months.” — Raylene C. If you “split” because of your BPD, or even your childhood trauma, know that you’re not alone and your thoughts do not define you. Splitting is a very real and common part of living with BPD for many people. If you’re struggling, we encourage you to gain support from a community that cares by sharing a Thought or Question about it on the site. What are some things you do that means you’re splitting? Let us know in the comments below.

Big Sean Talks About Going to Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

In a series of three Instagram videos, Big Sean opened up about deciding to take a more “traditional” approach to mental health treatment. View this post on Instagram my thoughts 1/3 ????A post shared by BIGSEAN (@bigsean) on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:43pm PDT The rapper, who has previously relied only on the holistic practice of meditating to manage his mental health, realized his depression and anxiety were getting to be too much — so he set out to find a therapist. In the first two Instagram videos he said, I’ve been meditating since I was 17 years old. You know, that helps with anxiety and depression… but it wasn’t doing anything for [my current mental state] so I knew it required some sort of special attention. So what I did was, I started therapy — you know what I’m saying? I got a good therapist… I was blessed enough to talk to some super spiritual people, and they made me realize what I was missing in my life and one thing I was missing was clarity. View this post on Instagram my thoughts (2/3) ???? CLARITYA post shared by BIGSEAN (@bigsean) on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:52pm PDT The Detroit native realized he needed to take a break to refocus on his mental health. “I stepped back from everything I was doing, everything I had going on, because somewhere in the middle of it, dawg, I just felt lost and I didn’t know how I got there,” he said. View this post on Instagram my thoughts (3/3) ???? UNCONDITIONAL LOVEA post shared by BIGSEAN (@bigsean) on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:55pm PDT This isn’t the first time that Big Sean has spoken about prioritizing his mental health. Last year, he canceled dates on his Undecided Tour due to anxiety and depression. At the time h e told Billboard: I never really took the time out to nurture myself, to take care of myself. It took me a lot of depression having a lot of anxiety to realize something was off. I’ve been getting myself together, getting my mind right. So I have been taking better care of myself. Big Sean isn’t the only black man in the music industry to talk about the importance of therapy. In 2017, Jay-Z rapped about his therapist in his critically-acclaimed project “4:44.” He was also very vocal about it during the album’s press run. “The most important thing I got is that everything is connected,” Jay-Z told The New York Times. “Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a … you’re at such an advantage.” In a 2013 study about mental health in black communities, 30 percent of participants admitted to having a mental illness or receiving treatment for one. Researchers found that of the study participants, black men were more likely to show concern about being labeled with a mental health issue. Mental health struggles can affect anyone regardless of financial or social status. If you are struggling and need support, there is help available. Check out suicide prevention resources page or if you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Community Voices

What to Say to a Sexual Assault Survivor

Sexual assault is still a pretty taboo topic in most spaces. Archaic ways of thinking often places the narrative of most survivors on the side of blame instead of faulting the person actually responsible: the assailant. Unfortunately, sexual assault survivors are often met with diminishing (and often toxic) language of “What were you wearing?” Or, “You shouldn’t have been over at a stranger’s house in the first place.” Or, “Well, we still live in a society where you have to be cautious of putting yourself in that position.” It’s a monologue of “you, you, you.” And the shame many sexual assault survivors feel from the assault itself becomes even more pronounced as they are silenced by people who claim to show support. More than anything, survivors want to be validated in their experiences — be reminded that they are believed, that it was rea,land that ultimately, you are here for them in whatever capacity they may need. If you have a friend or loved one that is a sexual assault survivor and struggle to find the right words to say that actually echo your support, look no further. We spoke with The Mighty community about what to say to someone who opens up about their sexual assault. Here’s what they told us: 1. “I believe you.” “‘I believe you!’ That would have made a huge difference. The predator that was a family member and even when I confronted him, his wife (my actual aunt) said prove it happen and tell her when and where ‘cause he was never alone with me by ourselves long enough. He messed with me from age 9-13 and the fear I dreaded came true. No one believed me. [To them,] I was looking for attention!” — Sherry C. “‘I believe you. I’m here to support you, listen, and even if it’s just to be here for your difficult moments. I want you to know, you’re not alone, and you do not need to battle it alone either.’” — Tatauq M. 2. “I’m so sorry this happened.” “’I’m so sorry. I understand that recovery from a trauma like this is going to take a long time and you’re going to need support along the way. I’ll be there for you in whatever way you need, no matter how long your recovery takes. It’s OK if you don’t want to talk about the details of what happened. I hope you know that I love you, and my feelings for you won’t change based on your sharing this tragedy with me.’” — Krista P. 3. “You’re safe.” “After a particularly horrible experience of sharing with someone, I learned that the three things I need to hear are: 1. I believe you, 2. I care 3. You’re safe. There are countless ways this can be communicated, and it doesn’t need to be stated explicitly.” — Kayleigh G. 4. “It’s not your fault.” “The monsters in this world should have never been your burden to bear. You did not deserve one iota of what you went through, especially by someone you thought was a safety net. Defiled and devalued are not the same thing. I wish I wasn’t told it was my fault. That wearing skirts around men was an invitation. That I was trying to take their man.” — Krystan S. “‘It wasn’t your fault.’ It is perhaps not as sentimental as some of the things others have shared, but no matter what happened or how, it can be hard not to blame yourself for what happened. It meant a lot to me to be reminded that what happened wasn’t my fault.” — Zoe L. “My grandma told me it wasn’t my fault, which was a big thing for me because even though it happened when I was little and I barely remember anything, I had a huge amount of guilt and believed that I should have done something to stop it.” — Keleigh G. 5. “I’m proud of you for opening up.” “Instead of ‘why didn’t you tell me this right after it happened?’, I would’ve liked to hear ‘I’m proud of you for being brave and opening up, even if it took a couple days.’ Sometimes a person needs time to process what has happened to them and to make sure it wasn’t just a nightmare. I remember telling myself as it was happening that I was letting it happen, even though I could not defend myself when I tried to.” — Holly B. 6. “I’m here for you.” “‘I’m here for you.’ I had no family support, I had to go through the court process with a friend, whom I’m very grateful for. But having family support for such a traumatic event would’ve been amazing.” — Jeannie C. “You didn’t deserve this. I may not know what to say but I am here. I went through mine alone, my rape resulted in a child. I never told a soul until after my son was born.” — Tanisa B. 7. “What happened to you is real.” “I wish somebody had told me how real it was. How bad it was. I was drugged and didn’t remember much, and tried to push away what I did remember. Three weeks later, I tried to take my own life.” — Julie C. “I would have loved to been told that it was serious. That it was a real issue and they believed me. I was told it was common for girls, and that I just needed to grow a backbone and deal with it. I was told I was imagining things. I was told I should have said something sooner. There was no support and it was really frustrating and discouraging for me. That was all from my parents, and it made it difficult to tell them things in the future.” — Kaitlyn R. 8. “This doesn’t define you.” “‘This doesn’t define you.’ For me personally, I had multiple incidents close together. I’ve found it difficult to heal from it, and it has taken a lot of energy. Sometimes it seems like it’s the only thing I do. I just need that reminder that this terrible thing that happened is not the only thing in my life. Being a victim/survivor is not my only identity.” — Robyn C. 9. “Is This OK?” “My new guy said, ‘If I ever say or do anything that’s triggering for you, please let me know so I can stop.’ I was in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship for 20 years. Those words were huge. It’s been a year and a half with new guy and I hope I get to keep him.” — Viki S. “‘I’m sorry. If anything ever makes you uncomfortable let me know.’ And the fact that he asked me for consent before every single little thing before he even knew what happened to me.” — Elizabeth D. “My current partner is incredibly consensual and gentle when it comes to sex. They always listen to cues and if I have a breakdown, they’re so more than willing to stop and be there and give me whatever I need at the drop of a dime. I needed to know that everyone deserves to be treated this way, and I needed that experience.” — Shy T. 10. “What they did was wrong.” “‘That was wrong. What they did was wrong. I’m very sorry that happened to you. Let me help you find all the help you need for as long as you need it.’ I waited 30 plus years for someone to acknowledge that the years of abuse/assault — that it was wrong.” — Sherry L. 11. “Don’t let anyone tell you your sexual orientation is because of your assault.” “An old friend told me: ‘I believe you. Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you that your sexual orientation is because of your assault. You are beautifully made the way you are, and you don’t love women as a woman, because you were assaulted. You’re so much more than that.’ How many times I’ve been asked if I’m only [a] lesbian because of my assault.” — Mikki G. 12. “I love you.” “I just confided in my husband that I’m a multiple times survivor of sexual assault. I was so scared he’d view me differently and leave. Instead he opened his arms and reminded me he loved me. I wish all survivors had that unconditional support.” — Gigi J. Sexual assault takes many different forms, but one thing rings true: it’s never the survivor’s fault. If you’re struggling to find the words or ways to support your friend or loved one who has survived this sort of trauma, direct them towards these resources : 17 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You Were Sexually Assaulted I Didn’t Know I Was Sexually Assaulted 27 ‘Harmless’ Comments That Actually Hurt Sexual Assault Survivors

16 Things People With BPD Do That Are Code for 'I Feel Unloved'

Let’s face it, expressing ourselves in an honest and vulnerable way can be a difficult feat for most of us. Especially when revealing to others how we feel when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. For people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), another layer gets added to the struggles of communicating. Many of those who have BPD share a background of a dismissive, invalidating and abusive childhoods, which only furthers those difficulties with self-expression more. Sometimes that manifests as acting in a way that’s “code” for how they really feel, since it’s not always second-nature to verbally express how they feel. Perhaps you ghost people in your life who love and care about you to protect yourself from potential rejection or hurt. Maybe you “test” people and hold them to unrealistic standards just so they fail and you can be reassured that you were “right” about them. You might even start fights and lash out as a means to push them away completely. If this sounds like you, trust us when we say you’re not alone. We asked The Mighty’s BPD community about what the things they do that are code for feeling unloved. Here’s what they told us: 1. “Ghosting” “I ghost everyone I know for various periods of time because I feel as if they don’t need or want to hear from me anyway. I end up putting myself in a really bad headspace and don’t mean to take it out on those around me, but that’s what happens.” — Susan R. “I close myself off from people and reply less, or sometimes not at all, to messages from loved ones. This is usually in hopes that my absence will be noticed, and my presence or attention will be fought for. Sometimes, though, it’s because I feel not only that I’m unloved, but undeserving of love, so I avoid being loved as self-punishment.” — Taylor C. “I don’t talk to or see people outside of work for days. Sometimes weeks. I refuse to return texts. Ignore calls. Don’t return comments on social media. I just cut everyone off.” — Heather C. 2. Isolating “Isolate. Kind of counterproductive but if I feel like I’m not wanted, then I’ll spare others my presence.” — Alexis D. “Isolating myself is an indicator of when I’m doing poorly. I would rather be alone by my own choice than because I have been rejected, so I push people away and isolate myself before it happens.” — Jessica S. 3. Shutting Down “I shut down and am not very communicative. I also cannot handle being touched during these times.” — Kerrie W. “I close up [and] don’t talk to anyone. [I] stay quiet [and] basically try not to breathe. I feel like I’m annoying everyone and I’m unwanted and unworthy. I won’t eat. Just drink water, no candy or sweets, because again, I feel I don’t deserve it.” — Marie L. 4. Picking Fights “[I] start fights to see if they will leave me.” — Amy C. “Rage. I get so angry and yell about everything. But really I’m screaming, ‘Please tell me you love me! ‘” — Crystal M. “I will get an attitude and start a fight about anything or nothing at all just to get them to not walk away, or to get some type of attention.” — Brenna B. 5. Throwing Away Sentimental Things “I will throw away anything and everything to do with the person or people I feel unloved by. Letters, gifts, pictures. All of it.” — Lisa M. 6. Keeping a Guard Up “I build a wall up so high it’s impossible for anyone to climb over it to get close to me.” — Lydia B. “I have lived my entire life, not allowing myself to get close to people and when I feel that they are emotionally getting close to me, I push them away.” — Andrea S. 7. Asking for Validation “I become extremely insecure. Needing validation and over-explanation for every little thing.” — Marissa L. “I get pouty and start to ask for validation and get super clingy but then I get scared I’m being too clingy and I distance myself and have a melt down and cry until I’m over it.” — Cassy R. 8. Testing “I do things to ‘test’ how much someone loves me, and once they don’t live up to my impossible standards, I isolate myself and start spiraling until someone notices something is wrong.” — Dakota Z. “I ask questions like, ‘Would you sleep with her?’ ‘Do you think she’s hot?’ And I’m hoping to hear something affirming I’m the only one he’s interested in. Rarely does this tactic work out. ” — Danielle H. 9. Making People Feel Guilty “Guilt trip. I’ve done it since I started dating and never realized it. I’ve made people feel absolutely horrible about themselves because I’ve emotionally manipulated them to feel so guilty about the way they thought they made me feel.” — Daniella M. “[I] do things to become a victim in a situation, and lash out on my loved ones.” — Bethany M. 10. Crying “I cry. A lot. Mainly to other people about the stuff that’s happening in my life… major or minor stressors, it doesn’t matter. I cry to anyone who will listen.” — Mary W. “Sitting in a room, crying my eyes out because I feel that no one loves me . Sometimes I create situations in my head that aren’t there. And it has consumed my life.” — Amber O. 11. Turning to Substances “I used to start drinking to numb the pain. I realized I had become an alcoholic and now going to meeting and working the 12 steps! What a horrible way to cope! Have a binder of new coping skills and a lot of support, which I have to constantly remind myself!” — Az A. 12. Overthinking “[I] overthink about situations that aren’t happening.” — Jenn L. “I overthink, then push away, or accuse them of not wanting anything to do with me. Which actually pushes them away.” — Jolene L. 13. Pushing Others Away “I push/avoid getting close to people in fear of disappointment, heartache and abandonment.” — Mattie G. “[I] push them away because I feel hurt, then regret it and cry if they don’t stop me. Pull them back close then punish them with lectures for hurting me. Then I feel bad because they don’t look happy so I try to say all kinds of sweet things.” — Elaina R. 14. Overcompensating With Kindness “Going above and beyond for everyone — even those who aren’t friends, yet rarely getting kindness myself no matter what.” — Christina S. “Sometimes I become overly generous or go out of my way to do things for others just because I want to feel like a better person.” — Kim A. 15. Ignoring Personal Care “I’ll stop looking after myself. I won’t shower or eat. I usually start using substances more.” — Lara A. “I’m so insecure I do everything possible to make myself look ugly. To keep people away. For instance, not showering, exercising, wearing makeup, etc.” — Angela C. 16. Self-Harming “[I] self-harm, the feelings of abandonment are too much.” — Jen B. “I start self-harming. When I feel unloved, I feel like it’s my fault.” — Krystal V. Expressing ourselves isn’t always easy, especially when we fear that the people we trust to keep them safe won’t. Protecting ourselves to keep ourselves from harm’s way is survival and it’s natural to cope this way when you feel threatened. However, if you find yourself struggling with feelings of unworthiness or being unloved, check out the resources below: When You Feel Like You Are Unlovable Because of BPD 21 ‘Harmless’ Comments That Actually Hurt People With BPD The Symptom of My Borderline Personality Disorder That Makes Me Seem ‘Self-Absorbed’

10 Lies People With 'Quiet' Borderline Personality Disorder Tell

When we think of borderline personality disorder (BPD), our mind often goes to the symptoms of the disorder that manifest outwards. That can include “splitting,” extreme emotional mood swings, explosive anger, impulsive self-destructive behavior and/or self-harm. For most people living with BPD, this is their painful, sometimes debilitating reality. However, borderline personality disorder doesn’t just look one way. Some folks have “quiet” BPD. Instead of acting outward as a response to their BPD, people with quiet BPD act “inward,” internalizing the things they feel. Mighty contributor Emily Woodhouse explains this perfectly in her article, “ The Roller Coaster of Living With ‘Quiet’ Borderline Personality Disorder .” As someone who is very quiet and diagnosed with BPD, I focus my intense emotions, impulsivity and actions inward. Contrary to behavior where one may act out in rage episodes in public, become aggressive or even throw outbursts and tantrums, someone with “quiet” borderline acts inward. So what does “acting inward” look like? For example, someone with quiet BPD might greatly fear abandonment, but instead of exploding angrily with accusations towards the person they perceive will leave, they might withdraw and self-loathe or overthink. But their silence doesn’t mean they feel pain any less, they just may not verbalize it. And when they do, it can often be presented as a “lie” so as not to let anyone in on how they really feel. To help us gain further insight, we asked The Mighty’s BPD community about the “lies” folks with “quiet” BPD tell and why. Here’s what they said: 1. “I’m fine.” “‘I’m fine’ and ‘you don’t need to worry.’ I’m rarely fine, but despite popular belief of the disorder, I really don’t want attention at all. It’s taken me years to open up and actually tell my close friends when I’m struggling, but it still sparks lots of paranoia and self-critique when I do.” — Kim A. “When asked, ‘Hey, are you OK?’ My response normally is, ‘I’m fine,’ with a smiling face. Meanwhile my chest feels completely empty, my brain is yelling at me and suicidal ideations [are] passing through my mind like a train passing through a tunnel. The moment I have time to myself, I completely break down and become a stranger to everyone in a world of isolation.” — Erica B. “I tell everyone that I’m OK because I want to remain in control. If I need help, I want to be the one asking for it, I don’t want anyone knowing how bad it all is and forcing me to get help.” — Lucie L. 2. “Nothing’s wrong.” “’It’s all good.’ ‘No worries.’ …So pretty much my simple lies are to a) avoid telling people I’m annoyed by them or frustrated, b) to avoid spilling my guts, c) to avoid upsetting others with the truth, d) to avoid seeming unreliable, e) to avoid appearing unwell, f) to avoid placing a burden on others.” — David M. “I don’t break down because I don’t like people trying to touch my insides with their dirty clumsy attempts at a connection that’ll never last long enough to actually relieve my anguish.” — Jenna V. 3. “That didn’t upset me.” “I never tell people when I am angry or upset with them. To me, anger should only be reserved for myself like I somehow ‘deserve’ it.” — Courtney A. “‘That didn’t upset me.’ I’m so sensitive that even a change to your tone of voice or a small change in body language can have me second-guessing my worth and/or inducing suicidal thoughts.” — Nicholle U. 4. “I’m tired.” “‘I’m tired.’ It’s not necessarily a lie, I am exhausted, but it’s not from a long night with the kids or something. My constant range of highs and lows are exhausting, it’s not just something I can get a better night’s rest with. I’m so worn out and I don’t think I’ll ever not be tired. It is what it is, I guess.” — Chrissy H. “‘No worries, I’m alright.’ ‘I just need to focus on myself right now.’ ‘I’m just really tired.’ All [are] excuses I’ve used when I’m freaking out. I’ve based my whole life wearing a happy mask. I only take it off when I’m alone or with those whom are very close to me, like family.” — Kady L. “I tell people I’m just tired when I’m feeling down, it’s hard to explain to people that I feel the same as someone with ‘classic BPD’ because I don’t act the same way and I don’t express my emotions outwardly, I express them all internally.” — Georgie R. 5. “I’ll have to see how I’m feeling.” “I can’t make plans. I always say, ‘I’ll have to see how I’m feeling that day.’ No one asks me to make plans anymore because I can’t commit; I never know if I’m going to have the energy to be social on that particular day.” — Robin E. “‘[I’m] having an off day.’ It’s just easier than explaining what really is going on. People don’t understand and it would cause me more stress and anxiety having more people know about my ‘issues.’” — Susan L. 6. “I don’t feel good.” “[I say] ‘I just don’t feel good’ when someone asks what’s wrong.” — Christina L. “‘I just feel a bit sick, that’s all.’ People can read my facial expressions really well so if someone’s figured out that something is wrong, I sometimes tell them that it’s a minor physical ailment like a cold or a stomachache. I get so hurt by things that, to other people, might seem inconsequential or things that, to me, feel like selfish reasons to be upset, so I don’t want to express those feelings.” — Lucy L. 7. “I can handle this.” “‘I can handle this.’ It may be something that on a good day, I can handle. If I am having a particularly difficult day, I won’t want to show it. I feel like my family and friends feel like they have to walk on eggshells with me on most days. If there is a task I can normally handle that I can’t for whatever reason that day, I don’t want to let them down more by asking for help or saying I can’t today.” — Hannah E. 8. “I’m OK.” “‘I’m OK,’ because it doesn’t feel worth explaining how un-OK I am.” — Steph R. “‘I’ll be OK, always will be.’ Or I’m tired and need sleep but then I always care for everyone else but never myself.” — Debbie W. “That I’m OK, just tired, not self-harming, not alone. It’s too hard to explain to people what I find hard to understand myself and I’m tired of opening up to the wrong people.” — Nikki T. 9. “Don’t worry about it.” “‘I’m not so bad, thanks. ‘Hey it’s fine, don’t worry about it,’ and ‘I don’t really know how I feel.’” — Gareth M. “‘Yeah, I’m good. Don’t worry about it. Trust me, I’m fine.’” — Eunice K. “There are moments or days when I go quiet. [I] become generally unresponsive and start staring into space. I tell anyone who asks if I’m OK, ‘Oh, don’t worry, I’m just out of it,’ when really, I’m numbing my pain with dissociation. Most times I’m too embarrassed to say I’m dissociating because I was triggered by something small to everyone else but enormous to me.” — Kelsie W. 10. “I’m just being over-dramatic.” “‘I’m just being over-dramatic,’ just to be funny. I use humor as a defense mechanism every second of every day. I don’t let anyone know what’s really wrong and somehow if I can make someone smile, they won’t feel what I am feeling.” — Erin C. If you have “quiet” BPD and you’re struggling with navigating your inner turmoil or even self-harm, you are not alone. The truth is, it can be a vicious cycle. But there is help out there for you. Check out the resources below. 14 Things ‘Quiet’ Borderlines Say That Are Code For ‘I Need Help’ What It Means to Be a ‘Quiet’ Borderline 11 Hidden Signs of ‘Quiet’ Borderline Personality Disorder