Mental illness: Black Father “Abandons” the family and mental illness (suicide tw)
In a story I’m writing, the main character is Afro-Latina and her father committed suicide when she was a child. Her mother is resentful towards him because of it and makes reference to him “abandoning” them often. I’m worried that this may play into the absent black father trope, though the story is mostly focused on the effects of untreated mental illness. Does this fall under that trope?
Much bigger than the “Absent Black Father”
We wouldn’t consider this the absent Black Father Trope. This goes deeper than abandonment, and has much more to do with his mental health. The story seems more of a tale on mental illness and that’s where your research should be aimed towards. However, there is certainly an intersection of race and mental illness to consider.
There are intersectional issues that might play a part, such as
Misdiagnosis and medical racism
Dismissal of symptoms by professionals
Family, especially of older generations, who take a “pray it away” perspective towards mental illness
Ableism and dismissal of his experiences as being “crazy”
This isn’t meant to generalize, but these things definitely happen.
How deep you dig into it depends on you and your story’s focus. Research all the intersectional matters either way, just so you’re aware as you write the story. Whether it ends up in the story or not is up to you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a strong matter of race here. People hide their mental illnesses and depression all the time, and well. Possibly that is where the issue lied?
I find it’s best to leave the discussion of intra community issues to those with the experience. If you’d prefer not to go deeply into that in the story, you don’t have to.
As a Black person with depression, I certainly hid mine for several years. I didn’t fear it wouldn’t be taken seriously. I just thought I could “fix” myself until issues and triggering situations arose that made it hard to keep it in. When I finally opened up to my family about it, it was absolutely taken seriously and with care. As soon as my father learned of my depression, I was put in therapy and medicine figured out for me almost immediately.
The father’s act doesn’t need to mean he didn’t have support (because of the community or otherwise). Even if others suspected there were issues, it can be hard to know the extent of one's illness.
The Latina woman
As for his wife / the MC’s mother, i’m not sure if he was unable to hide it from her as well, or it spilled out in ways she didn’t understand, but since you mentioned it was untreated, perhaps this was the case?
Presently, she has a lot of trauma and emotion she needs to process regarding her husband. This is clear based on what she says to her daughter about him. I hope this can be properly addressed in the story. Her resentfulness is not baseless by any means, and I am curious about her journey. I believe her character deserves exploration of that hurt and the feelings of abandonment she faces.
We can’t speak too much about the Latine perspective of this (potential future Latine mods, you’re welcome to apply to join the team. Inquire within!) so if any folks would like to chime in, feel free.
-A Black Mod with some personal experience with this subject
how do I ignore people and their opinions and not let them consume my life, especially when they are my friends and family members.
they think they are being helpful with their advice but they are actually not
I will start by saying 2 things: their advice might come from a place of love but everyone has their own path in life and you should follow yours. This is from a book i read last week and i agree with it. Many people will share with you their opinion, strangers and people you know. They think they help but that's not the case every time.
The other thing is: everything is an opinion, not a fact. This is a quote I read yesterday and I'll provide a personal example.
When i started working out, i was lost but i have friends who study medicine and one of these friends is also a personal trainer. So i asked him everything i didn't know and he even took from his time to calculate how much water and calories i should get + tell me how to modify meals if my lifestyle changed. This is a med student and a certificated trainer. HOWEVER, every single person from my family started to comment how i drink too much water or how my meals are weird and ridiculous. All these things come from people who never learned about nutrition and think that half a mug of oil is the proper amount to fry 1 egg.
And something to keep in mind is that people who don't know me (some friends of my mother) started to talk about my habits and weight with some relatives. People who haven't said more than 'hi' to me thought this is appropriate.
Moral of the story: in life people will have opinions about things they shouldn't have an opinion or about things they know nothing about but in their eyes, they are right.
For your family, if you know their opinion is mentioned because they care, remember that they probably had an experience which made then believe that. People think of their experiences as 'life lessons' but they aren't always universal to everyone.
If the family members say things because they try to tease you or just to be mean, these people half admitted with their actions that they shouldn't be listened to.
For friends, they have their own life and experiences as well. You don't need to listen to them if you think they don't know anything about the topic. For example, i hate when people say "your parents will sacrifice anything for you" to people who come from abusive families. The person who speaks says this because their parents will do that, not because the person they spoke to has such a family.
For strangers/people you barely know, unless they are some specialist in the domain, they shouldn't even think of giving some advice if you didn't ask them to.
Anyway, some exercises/ideas that might help you:
You don't need to have a reaction. People are in such a way that they expect something when they speak. (Even more people who give unrequited opinions) Avoid reacting or just say "we'll see","I'll figure it own","I'm fine, thanks". You say enough and little at the same time with these.
Think of feelings as a river with leaves. Whenever you stepped on it, a leaf stops. That's the emotion which bothers you. Avoid spending time focusing on things you can't change. (like people around you) Invest your energy somewhere else.
Learn to ask yourself "does this bring me joy?". If you think of yourself when you take decisions, you'll be your main focus. When you hear too many opinions, that can make you forget that you also have one.
Focus on your expectations for yourself. Others will always have expectations and the most selfish one is "they have to listen to me", probably that's why people give unsolicited pieces of advice and opinions. That's why, please learn to make yourself your focus and priority.
If you're decided about something or excited about anything, don't even consider others' words.
You can change the topic of the conversation. Showing nothing is an option.
If you can be direct, be. Tell the person you don't need or want to hear their thoughts. I see this as setting boundaries and I have to tell you, some won't like it. The moment you decide to guard your peace of mind and ignore or cut off people, some will throw a fit.
Based on what people say, you can also journal. Teasing and jokes can damage someone's self esteem a lot. Try to start with compliments and acknowledge your traits. Then you can go a step further and write how you want to be and start investing in your own person. I like to call this approach: a mountain won't budge in front of a waffle of wind. If you are self-assured and you know your worth, no amount of comments can convince you otherwise.
Remember, you live for yourself, not for others. It takes a bit of practice to learn to ignore what others are saying but with time you learn to focus on your happiness and be unbothered by others.
I hope my answer is somehow useful to you. If you need anything else, please feel Free to write.
12 years ago, Adora's father passed away when Adora was 14 years old. Before her father died, he told her to go lived with Auntie Leilani who lived in Vesuvia and own a shop there. When Adora said her goodbye to her parents grave, she went off to lived with her auntie and also got adopted by her.
Art by me
Picture of The Magic Shop by The Arcana Game
P.s: This is story how Adora got adopted by her Auntie Leilani.. and man... this really took me a week to drew all of it.... Hope you guys like it!!! 😊
· PLEASE DON'T STEAL THIS AND PLEASE ASK PERMISSION IF YOU GUYS WANNA SHARE IT!!!!!
I’ve been really struggling to make this post. On Tuesday night, September 14th our cat Choco passed away during an emergency vet visit after he had a seizure and/or heart attack out of nowhere. He was a healthy five-year-old, we just celebrated his gotcha day a few weeks ago. Josh and I are sad, confused and honestly lost, he was our shadow and we thought he was in for the long haul. Our house is empty, completely empty. He didn’t have enough time. My last morning with him was something I’ll never forget, he crawled up to my side for a snuggle and purred as he stretched out his paws, it was my favourite way to wake up. I stayed in bed extra long that day because we were both so comfy. He was the perfect cat, he had a beautiful personality, he was kind, gentle and so smart. He needed to be near us at all times, I couldn’t leave the room for long before Choco got up to check on me. He helped us both through a lot of hard times and he even started to travel with us, we had so many plans. I went through the bushes searching for a “meow” five years ago and a little kitten jumped into my arms all banged up. Josh spent that first night sleeping in the bathroom with this strange little kitten trying to comfort him, we didn’t know he was going to be a part of our family and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I just thought we had more time; we needed more time. We buried Choco on September 15th, which is the day our Pabu (the ferret Choco never met) crossed the Rainbow Bridge back in 2015. All of my fur babies are together now, and I don’t really know where to go from here…
I miss you Choco, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save you. We love you so much and miss you to the moon and back and back again. You’re a good, good boy.