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Speaking From The Heart: Mental Health, Womanhood, Black Personhood

makes me wonder of the lack of language around topics we choose to avoid speaking of. It is as if language is selective of what topics it accommodates, and the more we avoid speaking about something the more it loses meaning in language.

To speak directly from the heart is a hard thing to do. To look forward and speak directly from the heart without is the hardest thing to do. 

This article aims to express the feelings of a human being. I find myself speaking on mental health more than I had ever set out to do. Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation was my first ever entry into the dark world of mental illness.

Elizabeth writes her life story of struggling with depression throughout her childhood and adult life. You see Wurtzel’s brain did not produce enough dopamine, melancholy could best describe a day in her mind. But not the romanticised whitewashed melancholy.

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Not the kind that ends in a breakthrough. Her melancholy ended in razor blade cuts on her thighs and arms. Cuts on her wrists. Countless pills being pumped out of her stomach.

Collapsing mid washing her waist length her because it was just so hard. It was too long, too wet, too exhausting to go on.

It makes me wonder of the lack of language around topics we choose to avoid speaking of. It is as if language is selective of what topics it accommodates, and the more we avoid speaking about something the more it loses meaning in language.

Depression is like that monster whose gruesome and fearsome form is unspeakable. That we would rather not speak about, that we are all commonly frightened of. The one whose name shall not be said, so to speak. That trying to articulate emotions is impossible. The words are there inside your head, but cannot make it past your throat.

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Women’s stories alike lack a language or literature around them. Western history does well in building entire literatures based on the opinions of white men who wrote about other white men who were influenced by other white men. White women have themselves have until recently been placed by history in the home, with husband and children and no where else.

Perhaps I am so articulate then about mental health and women’s stories is that I am a black woman. The other to white women, white men and black men. Here is a language whose stories are ever the more harder to translate into English. Whose stories are lost somewhere in translation because those languages are not important enough. That the sounds of their voices sound like ghosts in the wind even to black men.

Stories of mental health then even in black communities are unspoken of. Feelings too are swallowed down, too advanced for the human tongue to put into sounds. Speaking from the heart is hard.

The world rejects us in so many ways for things we cannot change. How our stomachs and bums look, how our faces look, the colour tone of your skin.

We all experience these heart shattering rejections that tell us we are not good enough to truly exist. We are not good enough to take up space. How much more if we must not bare our insides open too?

To speak from the heart is to be naked before whomever you stand before. To let the tongue find the rhythm of your soul and speak freely. I am cringing as I write this because not only does it sound cheesy but it is scary.

Speaking as a writer, I do not have the freedom to speak from anywhere else. As a human I am failed by words, but when I pick up the pen all the paper demands is truth and nothing else. So one has no choice but to continue speaking from the heart, hard as it may be.

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