Let me set the record straight. I am an advocate for spiritual and mental well-being. I will do anything in my power to help Black men look at themselves, recognize the spiritual and emotional potential, and create healthier lifestyles. Ask ANY of my friends. Last night CNN'S Black in America 2 touched on a very urgent issue within the black community. Depression among black men. I was one happy well-being seeking black man.
I'll be the first to admit I'm in therapy. It's been two years now. I know two, only two, other black men in my circle who are in therapy, or, at least admit it. I have no qualms about telling people I needed to sit down with a professional and look at the issues that were short-circuiting my journey. I have no qualms about admitting I was angry at a society that appeared happy to vilify me. I have no hesitation about describing how I felt my community was far more invested in self-sabotage than personal celebration. Look, it's no secret black men have a lot to navigate on a daily. From police profiling to grandiose expectation from black women to cultural compromise in the workplace, black men are navigating through a lot. Even in high school I hated to see some of my peers, full of promise and talent, choose marijuana, alcohol or excessive womanizing as a means to define their masculinity, or should I say avoid their inner turmoil. It hurts even more to see this same behavior among adult black men. It hurts even more to see the black community stand around and watch these men implode and not have a language/skill to help them.
I was so happy that Philadelphia Eagles Shawn Andrews admitted to CNN's Soledad O'Brien he suffered from clinical depression. I was even happier he admitted he once considered suicide. Now maybe more black men will see they're not alone. Maybe they'll see there's hope through admittance and therapy. Maybe they'll see racism, police profiling, homophobia, poverty, Keeping Up With the Jones', whatever it is, can be addressed in therapy. One more thing: Brothers, if you're in therapy, share it with other brothers. We all need to know a healthy well-being is possible.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.