EMBRACE YOUR CROWN CAMPAIGN
Prentecia Floyd, Esq.
Fight the stigma.
What has been your experience with mental health? Are there any struggles you overcame or how do you hope to help others overcome theirs? I’ve had transformative experiences with mental health throughout my entire life. As a child, teen, and presently a young adult, I endured boundless trauma. It came in so many forms and happened through encounters with family, relationships, and at times strangers. I was unaware of how each instance of trauma I experienced affected my mental wellness. It changed how I moved. I was raised in a Baptist home but found myself constantly battling and vehemently disagreeing with some of the standards and practices taught in church. Specifically, when I was encouraged to forgive, forget, and pray pain away. As a child I obeyed this practice but found myself battling the dark reminders of my trauma. I forgave but could never forget. The biggest fight was with myself in my own mind. The constant battle of me being unaware that I was a victim and blaming myself for things that were not in my control. Prayers alone were insufficient.
From your knowledge, what myths or negative stigmas have been attached to black mental health? If any, how did they shape your thoughts about getting help/going to therapy?
Over time, I’ve heard some outrageous opinions on black mental health. One of the most deplorable myths is that therapy is for crazy people and black people do not have mental issues. Considering the centuries of slavery, systemic oppression, discrimination, and death we ourselves and our ancestors have experienced, I emphatically disagree. We are not crazy for seeking help and wanting to heal. We are owed that. Some of us may not even realize that and are not to blame. Transgenerational trauma exists and we deserve any and all forms of relief and healing. It is evident that the myths and stigmas only moved me to show up for myself and get the help I needed.
Have you ever been to therapy? Why or why not? On a scale of 1-5 how important is it to have a therapist that is culturally competent?
It was in 2016 when I felt enough was enough and was able to sit with a psychiatrist. She helped me understand why I only felt comfortable in smaller crowds. I was always an introvert, but it took self-awareness and my therapist for me to acknowledge my trauma made me a recluse. She also encouraged me that this was totally fine and to reject societal pressures of socializing excessively or being someone I’m not. I prefer relaxing walk on beaches, spending quality time with my family or partner, traveling places I’ve never been, and serving underserved and disenfranchised communities. Therapy helped me get out of my own head and acknowledge how amazing I truly am, I have been through darkness, yet I always radiated light. I thank my ancestors for my strength.In closing, I want to emphasize that we are not damaged or broken. These are negative words people use to describe people who have experienced trauma and hardship. This may be detrimental to your mental wellness and you may even start to believe and manifest it. Reject and rebuke these words if ever used against you. Never allow anyone to direct that energy to you. Replace those words with strong and resilient. You are worthy! 5
Lastly, what would make your experience with mental health better?
Culturally Competent Therapists;Affordable Therapy;Family Support