As the year comes to an end, my boyfriend and I have spent a fair amount of time assessing the changes we’ve made this year to ourselves and to our education as well as what we hope to accomplish in 2016. Maybe it’s early… but when a visionary and an idealist get together, the future is more often than not a topic of conversation. I don’t know how qualified I am to give advice, but I can certainly write a few points on some important things I’ve learned so far this year. Of course, there are two more months to go, so hopefully I’ll be able to learn much much more.
- Living a lifestyle you want is possible. Before writing, the idea of not working a 9-5 job had never occurred to me. I dreaded the idea of working a regular job and the idea of having to work 10+ hours a day to make ends meet in the U.S. What I really wanted was to make enough money to live comfortably, be close to my parents and have plenty of free time to pursue other interests. It was difficult and it took planning but in 2015, I’ve made that happen. I think the key here is not just saying what you want, but answering this question: “What do I have to do to make the lifestyle I want attainable”.
Viewing mental health through the lens of intersectional feminism calls for us to examine the specific mental health issues faced by the LGBTI community. While all mental health issues are largely ignored by the greater West Indian community, another group of marginalized people face specific oppression at the hands of medical professionals; they face specific issues regarding their sexuality and gender expression that other West Indians do not face.
In a society where non-cisgender and non-heterosexual people face massive amounts of physical/emotional and sexual violence, there is no space for LGBTI+ individuals to receive help or support for their unique difficulties. Not to mention, the people who cause these difficulties don’t believe that their problems are real. While I’m not qualified to speak on behalf of anyone in the community, I can advise my readers, especially those in positions of privilege, to pay attention to how our society creates toxic conditions for the mental health of LGBTI+ individuals.
LGBTI+ individuals face bullying and abuse at the hands of their family and friends. Abuse has a definitive negative impact on mental health. (Source: CDC, Google it)
West Indians ignore addiction, a very pertinent aspect of mental health, by pretending our cultural identity as West Indians makes us immune to the addictive effects of alcohol.
Our culture glorifies alcohol on a level that surpasses that of even the United States. We have bars popping up called “Rehab” and “Rum Therapy”; although funny on one level, these trends point to the disturbing fact that using a harmful substance as a coping mechanism is celebrated. There are many memes online about how Lucians/West Indians drive better drunk that promote false information about alcohol abuse under the guise of humor. (more…)
(Part 1 of about a million)
We ignore early symptoms of mental disorders.
Since my parents are both educators, I hear a lot about what happens in the education system down here. I also have some of my own experiences and the experiences of close friends that I use for reference.
I would automatically distrust any statistics produced by the government of this island regarding mental health, so I’m going to address this issue without hard data because no hard data is trustworthy far less “unbiased”.
In school, there are many cases of high achieving students “going mad” either before exams or during the middle of the semester. These students sometimes let out blood curdling screams heard through out the school. Sometimes they “speak in tongues” or engage in behaviors otherwise deemed “off”. There are many other instances of acting out that get students labelled as crazy.