Christopher Garrick

Black Depression And Healing

Christopher Garrick
Black Depression And Healing

By Christopher Garrick

Our lives are drenched in trauma. The trauma of being black, of existing in an anti-black world, the trauma passed on from our ancestors.

We're told depression is a mental illness, that it just exists because of imbalances in your brain, but I think a narrative that has been swept under the rug is that depression is caused by white supremacy and it's ugly cousins. What about the conditions that have historically exploited and subjugated and erased our bodies? Would depression still be a thing in black people if the stresses caused by poverty and exacerbated by capitalism were to be erased under a different system? If we didn't have to deal with the forced enslavement of our people who were raped, lynched, mutilated and then disposed of after building this country, would we have to live with depression the way we do now?

At times I see something antiblack or transmisogynistic or even just fucked up and I think to myself this is too much. I'm very interested in other narratives that have experienced something similar due to the dysphoria or just constant weariness and distress that come with the conditions we exist in.

In our reality, if you can't work and produce adequate labor to sustain capitalism than you don't deserve food or shelter or even just the right to life and that's a reality that could very much and probably does depress many people whether they know it or not. What I've been more interested in of late is how to find methods of resistance to be able to keep going in our antiblack queerphobic shit ass world.

I think Solange very much paints a picture in "Cranes in the Sky" that black depression and resistance strategies are things that need to be talked about more, even within activist circles, because we're so consistently burnt out many of us don't even have the headspace to actually organize and fight the conditions plaguing us.

How do we even begin to heal from the damage of the system when white supremacy and white ideology has its dirty hands in literally everything we're forced to exist in? When the state has a hand in every part of your being how can we effectively heal ourselves enough to begin to face the state head on in order to deconstruct it?

It is just the parasitic nature of nation states and white ideology, which do so much violence and damage to us and exploit us to a point where we don't have the energy or collective mobilization to actively work towards organizing against the state.

What effectively has to happen is we as a collective need to start really loving and supporting each other in new radical ways and hold more space for community healing. Because we're stronger when we're together and we're stronger when we are healthy. The key to resisting the violence the state throws at us is love, whatever that may look like.