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A Mental Health Moment

Who Do You Really Love?

By Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPC, NCC, Licensed Mental Health Therapist

The Truth Contributor

In 2015, one of my favorite rap artists, Kendrick Lamar, released an album called To Pimp a
  I watched and listened in awe as Kendrick Lamar perform “I” as in I love myself, one evening on an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Bernadette Joy Graham,

 Before the end of the song, I was already in the process of searching up YouTube and other search engines for the video and lyrics to the song and other songs on the album.  Along my search, I discovered two profound sources of information.  One was an interview of Kendrick Lamar sharing his struggle with depression as he was previously diagnosed while in a rehabilitation center with a depressive type disorder and suicidal ideation. 

Another was a brief commercial in an effort to address the stigma of mental health in the black community by Keiser Permanente, a non-profit managed healthcare system within the United States.  The commercial utilized Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics in the song “U” of a young black adolescent with the voice over Kendrick Lamar lyrics of his hidden pain of what is feels like to suffer symptoms (loneliness, hopelessness, fear, sadness, etc) of depression and thoughts of suicide. 

     Kendrick Lamar was very serious in his discussion during the interview about his depression and wanting to commit suicide and shared a lot of his feelings in the lyrics presented on his album. 

    I was drawn to the performance on Saturday Night Live due to Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics’ “I.” It seems quite common that each of us are supposed to love ourselves but express loving others instead.  In my profession as a counselor, many clients are often diagnosed with a depressive type disorder whether it be hereditary or experiential.  A number of them consider suicide as a way out not only because of the pain of feeling the severe discomfort but the stigma.  There is the silence and the disbelief by others that it’s not real. 

Depression is not just about having a bad day, feeling sad or a broken heart.  In fact, it is so painful people will and do often attempt or complete the act of suicide.  Some of Lamar’s lyrics of the song “U” read……“I know your secrets… I know depression is restin’ on your heart for two reasons… And if this bottle could talk I cry myself to sleep / B—- everything is your fault… Shoulda killed yo a– a long time ago / You shoulda feeled that black revolver blast a long time ago / And if those mirrors could talk it would say ‘you gotta go’ / And if I told your secrets / The world’ll know money can’t stop a suicidal weakness.”

     To the contrary some of the lyrics to Kendrick Lamar’s song “I”…. I done been through a whole lot
Trials and tribulations, but I know God Satan wanna put me in a bow-tie Praying that the holy water don't go dry, yeah yeah As I look around me So many motherfe&%$rs wanna down me But ain't no nigga never drown me In front of a dirty double-mirror they found me And I love myself……

      Take a mental health moment and consider both the “I” and the “U” in your life.  We can write the lyrics to our lives however we choose.  More often than not, we need help with our lyrics. Kendrick Lamar reached out for help and he’s still here writing more and more lyrics to song’s many enjoy.  Give other’s the opportunity to enjoy the lyrics to your song ….. even if the only words to your song is “I love you,” (yourself) as they will be the most important words in your life for a healthy quality of life. 

      Bernadette Graham is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. She is available for presentations and speaking engagements on mental health topics.  Provide feedback or reach out at graham.bernadette@gmail.com or visit her website at www.bjgrahamcounseling.com.  For appointment information please call 419.409.4929




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/03/19 14:14:45 -0400.

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