Guest Contributor: Micah Dawanyi
Author, Battle Scars and Blossoms
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
To me, Black Mental Wellness means balance; being able to understand the balance and nuance of life. Sometimes we’re happy, sometimes we’re sad. Sometimes we’re full of life and energy, and sometimes we’re drained. But it’s important for us to be able to feel the balance in emotions and feelings.
Due to mental health stigmas, socioeconomic factors, and systems of oppression, many of us have been forced to exist in a state of survival where we haven’t been able to slow down and find the balance in life. Many of us have been taught to suppress our emotions and ignore what we feel, whether good or bad. But in order to find sustainable wellness, we must embrace the balance. We must embrace our emotions and feelings, and work to better ourselves.
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
I’m currently a nationally licensed sports coach, and a senior at Nova Southeastern University, studying health science and psychology. When I graduate, I plan on pursuing my master’s and eventually becoming a sports psychologist.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?
The biggest way I promote mental health and wellness is through my creative work. Most recently, I published my second book “Battle Scars & Blossoms: A Journey Through the Mind.” It’s a fiction book that focuses on the themes of mental health, breaking generational cycles of internalizing trauma, and the dangers of emotional suppression. I figured it’s less “stigmatizing” to embed those psychological themes into a fictional storyline. Sometimes you have to “hide the medicine in the juice” to help people.
I think what’s most important is that this book focuses on black characters. Oftentimes, psychological fictions only focus on white characters. It’s important for black people to also be represented in storytelling, especially when dealing with important issues like mental health. Everyone will take away something different from my writing, but my goal is always to encourage, educate, enlighten, and empower.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
My first time going to therapy was in 2018, during my freshman year of college. College was the first time I lived away from home, and it forced me to slow down and reflect on all that I had been through in life. Up to that point, I’d lost a few friends through tragic circumstances, and I was recovering from a life-threatening health issue. Seeing a therapist really helped me process some of the reflections I was having at the time.
Micah Dawanyi is a college student, nationally licensed sports coach, and 2x published author based in South Florida. His new fiction book “Battle Scars & Blossoms,” which deals with mental health and the dangers of emotional suppression, is now available worldwide.