When it comes to families of color, talking about mental health is basically taboo.
It’s hard to get two phrases out about it before noticing your parents reactions. Sometimes it’s the eye roll, other times it’s the “okay we get it let’s move on” motion of the hands. Either way, it’s very clear the conversation will lead nowhere.
“Stop. Other people have it way worse.”
As children of color, we’re used to hearing the phrase, “Stop. There’s other people who have it way worse,” whenever we talk about things even close to mental health.
This might be the norm for us, but there’s a couple major issues with that.
For one, we feel like our feelings and problems don’t matter. We’re forced to invalidate our emotions and look at a “bigger picture.”
I get it. Our parents had to work their ass off to get to the place they are. Most of them dealt with racism, sexim, and even trauma within their own life. But they've been taught to suppress that shit and ignore their pain. To them, our struggles don't compare, which is why this is always the comeback.
If our struggles don’t compare to theirs, we have nothing to complain about. Now on top of whatever the hell we’re going through, I have to feel worse by not taking the kids in poverty into consideration. The kids who don’t have a mom and dad. The kids who don’t have any money to get clothes, food or shelter. The ones who are denied their basic needs.
We have to look at the bigger picture and devalue all the shit we feel. But all that does is cause more anger and frustration. People may have it worse, but that in no way negates the pain we’ve gone through.