“I’m not OK”: Working through Trauma While Coping with Mental Illness

I remember the loud bang that hit like thunder.

I remember seeing the glass collapse into my backseat like a runner who had lost their strength.

I sat there looking into the cars facing me in disbelief. Frozen and confused.

I was in a car wreck on 10/30/2019 and it changed my life.

In 2018, I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder with psychosis. I had known something was off since childhood, however I never knew what it was.

I spent a year on meds to control my symptoms, but I did exactly what I was told not to do…I stopped taking the pills. (What can I say? Y’all know I’m a little hardheaded lol)

No lie. Had I listened a little more, I probably wouldn’t have had as much internal conflict as I did through the most recent months.

After my wreck, I struggled hardcore with PTSD and depression. I felt completely alone and isolated. Basically, honey, I was giving everyone a major side eye who wasn’t there for me.

Every night I replayed the wreck when I closed my eyes to go to sleep.

Watching the truck slam into me from my rearview mirror.

Remembering my eyes trying to focus as my car was spinning around.

In case you didn’t know, mental illness and trauma don’t exactly go well together.

I remember staying up at night so I wouldn’t have to keep reliving what happened. I would literally ask myself, “Why can’t I get over this?”

After several weeks of trying to cope (and failing miserably I might add), I finally went to go speak to someone.

Wait…let me not lie. My coworkers STRONGLY encouraged me to go speak with someone.

Thank God for having therapists as coworkers, huh?

I met with a clinician who broke it down for me and explained to me how a person with a mental illness can be completely fine up until a traumatic event happens because our brain processes information differently. Sometimes it takes people with bipolar disorder a little longer to understand and accept a traumatic event that has occurred.

Something about that conversation changed things. Something about hearing the logistics behind my mind made me feel better. Close friends shared words of encouragement, but they didn’t register.

Me hearing that my mind works differently and processes things differently only proved that what she was telling me was true.

Basically, I discovered myself after all of that chaos and, sis, I was shook.

I really feel like after I left there, I came into myself.

Everything has been completely clear since then. The limitations of my friendships, my goals, my needs, and what I wanted in the future.

Yes, having to go to physical therapy multiple times a week sucks, but the place to which it has brought me has been beautiful.

I feel stronger in being my authentic self. I feel like more of me than I have in many, many years.

Hell, y’all. Ya girl has started blogging again! That obviously means something is going right…right? 🙂

Anywho, I wrote this blog to say that shitty things happen sometimes, but it only matters how you move forward. My biggest battle after my wreck was looking at everyone else who had been through something similar and forcing myself to try to heal at their time.

That is the ultimate set up for failure.

HEAL AT YOUR OWN PACE.

You owe it to yourself!

Stay blessed, friends.

P.S. Thank you for all of the support with my first book, “Immortal Whiskey”! The second edition of “Immortal Whiskey” will be released 2/2/2020 so be on the look out for more details soon!

Elevate. Elevate. Elevate.

You ever thought about how an elevator works?

Is it not crazy that we literally walk into this little box, press a button, and just have faith and trust that the doors will shut and when they reopen, we’ll be at another level?

Why do we trust this little electric box to get us to our desired level when we can’t even see what’s happening once the doors close?

I started thinking and realized…is that not how our relationship with God works?

God is literally an “elevator”.

We get on this ride called life and just start pressing buttons hoping that when the doors close and we can’t see a way out, that we will still end up in a place higher than where we were.

That’s how faith works.

If you just get in the elevator and don’t press any buttons, you’re not going to go anywhere. You’ll be stagnant and remain on the same level.

My point?

START PRESSING BUTTONS.

God won’t just move you if you don’t make a move first. It is up to you to tell God what level you want to reach.

If you really want to start that business, write that book, lose that weight, do it!

Level up and elevate yourself.

Some of us are just standing there in the elevator, holding up the ride for someone else because we don’t trust that if we make a move, something will happen.

You know the old saying, “Either sh*t or get off the pot”? Well the new saying should be, “Either level up or get off the elevator.”

Stop wasting your time and BSing on your goals. Write it down and get to work.

Time waits on no one and neither will the people who are ready to make moves to the next level.

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“…the more I like flies.”

Today’s subject is one of great importance. It’s about something that I know all too well: being Black.

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Now, of course I have non-Black readers, so this is not to be exclusive, but to be thought of as a glimpse at the internal conflict that a Black person may experience.

Have you ever had someone question your Blackness? Have you ever had someone ask you why you “talk White” or “dress White” or do anything other than be Black? Where do we get this?

Why do we do this to each other?!

Sometimes it seems as though, within our own community, if you don’t dress or talk a certain way, you may not be seen as “Black enough”. Step into a predominantly White community and regardless of how you dress or speak, you’ll definitely contain enough Blackness.

I remember being in high school (a predominantly Hispanic, DISD school) and telling everyone that I got into SMU. A lot of their responses: “Oh you seem like you would go there.” “Yeah, you would fit in perfect there.” “You act White anyways.” And these responses were coming from Black students.

Ask me the ethnicity of most of my friends at SMU. Here’s a hint: they’re mostly the same color as me (and not from over-tanning either). I honestly feel as though the SMU Black community is comprised of all of the “White-Black, Black-enough, I-speak-proper-English-but-I-can-still-be-ignorant, sorry-I’m-awkward, Let-me-make-this-inappropriate-joke, we-real-Black, but-still-can-put-on-my-proper-voice-for-the-phone” type of people.

Going through college, I met so many other Black students that shared my experience of growing up as “other”. I thought it would get better after graduation, but I have noticed that the categorization of the black experience is just as predominant in the working world with other adults.

To this day, I still catch hell from certain people for speaking in a proper manner.

Here’s the thing,  beloved, I have an ENGLISH degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the US. I’ve pretty much mastered the whole code-switching thing.

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Now, I can only speak from my experience because that’s all I know, but I feel as though it is one that transcends over time.

If you’re not living under a rock, you are probably aware of the many Black lives that have been lost over the years due to racially charged violence.

We must stop separating ourselves into categories of light-skinned vs dark-skinned, relaxed hair vs natural hair, proper English vs slang, etc.

We must acknowledge our similarities and stop dwelling on our differences.

The irony of black and white is that black is created to be less visible in certain settings.

However, if properly placed, black will always dominate.

We wear solid black when we want to evoke thought. Evoke emotion. Evoke power.

We have a target placed on our face, on our heart, on our back.

We are tinted and dipped in different shades of the sunlight, but a target nonetheless.

We all thank God when cops don’t follow us or when it wasn’t our very own brother that was shot.

You are black on a white backdrop. You are a bullseye.

You are an aim for empty practice. A broken piece of wood that so happens to leak blood.

Like a bullet hole in a body or in a target, what was behind you never becomes visible until a bullet has been through you.

Your past of drugs, alcohol, and sex was nothing until you were dead and defenseless.

Until we could see through the holes.

We are all the same black body. The same black voice.

You are my brother. You are my sister.

We are one.

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