Hood PTSD: This Sh*t Ain’t Healthy, Y’all

We’ve all heard the saying,

“You can take the person out the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the person.”

I’ve heard it a million times before, but this week’s thought process and experiences gave it a new context for me … and through the tragedy of others, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re from what we’re going to call “the hood” for conversations sake, you are most likely suffering from PTSD.

Let’s paint a picture.

It’s Friday night and I suffer from “I got a thousand jobs and a bihh be tired disease”, so I took a nap after work.

judge

 

So I wake up and now it’s late af (ugh!) and after a quick run to the convenience store to get a pint of Halo Top, I sat in my bed, window open to let in the early summer breeze; box fan a’rumbling, giving me just the right amount of wind to dry my boob sweat before it can form.

But beating boob sweat aside, anyone from “the hood” knows this time of year is bittersweet.

It’s the time of year when you can sit on the porch, as the temperatures dip to a slightly balmy 70 degrees at night, with a beer; put some burgers on the grill; or, if you’re like me, lay in your bed with the window open watching Westworld.

But it’s also the time of year when rising temperatures expose fragile tempers and bruised egos.

It’s the time of year when based on how nice it is outside, I’ll find myself thinking, “It’s too nice out. Somebody’s going to die tonight.”

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

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And true to form, my hometown and many others inner cities across this country showed out that night. Because as I fanned my titties in the cool breeze, 10 people were shot outside of a bar a few blocks from my house.

And while I didn’t know the severity of what was going on as the flurry of lights and sirens blew past my open window, I didn’t move. Even the next day, I read the news, answered some texts from some worried friends and colleagues, and kept moving like people weren’t fighting for their lives.

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

Shit, in the last few weeks, I’ve driven past way too many white sheets with the names of those in mourning sprawled across in loops and blocks of multi-colored grief.

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

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I’ve had to explain to my children what the white sheets mean (passing down this PTSD to another generation), as we drive past another gathering of police cars with lights ablaze, surrounded by yellow tape.

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

And all of this got me to thinking about how I had to explain to my niece when she reached middle school age that her friends and classmates were going to start to die and get locked up … shit, it happened to me. I can tell you story after story of seeing “John”, or fuck it “Kareem” in school on Monday and reading about some awful occurrence in his life in the newspaper on Wednesday.

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

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Do tragedies and violence erupt all over the world?

Of course.

But it’s so concentrated in your average “hood” (mine is arguably 7 square miles), leaving it so unavoidable that it just becomes just a part of life.

Now, if we’re speaking on the grand scheme of things, a quick study of basic Buddhist concepts will explain the importance of detachment and that death is inevitable …

But this type of intense violence; the poverty most people live in; shit, just the trash all over the ground, broken glass, whole fucking McDonalds bags full of food (sorry, I went on a bit of a tangent because I get tired of picking that shit up from in front of my house) …

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

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Watching death and destruction, pain, blood, bullets, your community in a state of disrepair with no real solutions;

looking over your shoulder at every passerby;

making sure you sit in rooms only where you can see the door;

refusing to frequent establishments where there’s only one way in and out;

constantly knowing somebody can lose their child at any moment;

worrying about your loved ones when they don’t text back;

not trusting anyone, always being on alert, watching people suffer and having no reaction;

ducking when you hear sharp pops, having to teach your children the same;

alcohol and drugs as coping mechanism disguised as cultural norms;

living in the land of loose cigarettes and food deserts (more on that in another blog), where your hopes of finding fresh produce are as slim as finding a cop that gives a hot fuck about your struggles … your existence … your humanity …

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

It breeds hopelessness,

It spawns callousness,

It gives birth to this cold, matter-of-factness when it comes to the suffering of others; to our own suffering …

That we carry with us, like a solider with a 100-pound pack on their backs.

And while it can be more like a little clutch purse with a formal gown for some, for others it’s so heavy and large you have to rent a U-haul to carry that shit with you,

But it’s there.

Remember this:

“You can take the person out the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the person.”

If we’re working from the official definition of PTSD, it’s marked by anxiety and flashbacks triggered by traumatic events.

And these flashbacks and anxiety, while veiled in this perception of just “hood life” are real and they effect us.

I find myself sitting at work … in my super corporate job, annoyed by my seating assignment because it’s not close enough to the door, just in case some shit pops off.

This shit ain’t healthy or normal, y’all. And dealing with it, reconciling it mentally contributes to your hood PTSD.

The paranoid sits on our shoulders, the flashbacks shape our lives, the anxiety is so tangible that you can almost reach out and touch it. And it beats the shit out of us without us even knowing it; sets us back,  even when are finally in a position to move into less volatile spaces, even when there is no longer a threat, we still perceive it.

So if you’ve ever heard gunshots at night and ducked on the ground or been around intense violence or poverty and the issues it breeds, been in or around a situation that you consciously or subconsciously make current day decisions based off of, and you want to take some steps to finding some peace, there’s something you can do right down there …

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/african-American

NO, you’re not crazy …

NO, you don’t necessarily need meds …

But it’s good to talk to an unbiased third party …

who understands …

PTSD in the hood …

And can help you see …

that you don’t have to take that shit with you!

Until next time, folks,

Love and Light,

The Lady Writes

What did you say?

You miss me when I’m gone?

Well, you know you can keep up with my antics every other day of the week:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theladywrites82

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/theladywrites82

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8022454.Erin_T_McMillon

You can also find all of my books The Becoming of Us, Vol. I, The Becoming of Us, Vol. II, What’s Hiding in the Dark: 10 Tales of Urban Lore, and They Eat on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/author/erinmcmillon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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