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My name is Patrick Jonathan Derilus, and this is my story

I am 25 and I struggle with Depression

As a man, particularly a man of color, I feel that getting this Semicolon tattoo not only shows that I have battled against depression since middle school, post-traumatic stress, and dissasociative episodes, but this act of getting the tattoo, dispels the myth that mental illness is a white person's problem and only a white person's problem. As a man of color, it is more than one big step, but a succession of them. With dark-skinned Black men, Americans of all kinds, mostly White Americans, perceive us to be super-humans in the sense that we cannot feel pain; we are perceived to be hyper-masculine, inherently murderous, and unfeeling human beings. While some of these racist stereotypes prove to be untrue, Black men indefinitely are emotional human beings. From being forced into a box to fit the mold of Black male masculinity via white supremacist patriarchal socialization to being taught to hate ourselves, we constantly struggle with the fear of showing our feelings at the same time, worrying of the implications of our choice to embrace our emotions.

As a result, I feel this act is liberating for me because the tattoo validates my internal struggles and it highlights that I continually deal with mental illness everyday. Also, this act is influential toward other Black men, and other men of color because it will inspire a lot of them to perhaps do the same by getting themselves their own Semicolon tattoos and sharing their own narratives with the world.

If you enjoyed Patrick Jonathan Derilus’s story, send a bit of encouragement in the comments section below or share this story with others.

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