It was only just a dream but after confiding in the universe, doing the work and showing up, it’s now a reality. As much as I want to call myself “The Man”, this was never about me. BlackLIGHT was always supposed to be nothing but a vessel for all the silent voices battling with mental illness. It was designed to show them as less of wounded souls and more human like everyone else. As a young black man battling with Bipolar-depression, I know the septic wound it creates in one’s life. I have almost died a couple of times in its hands. I have had to live through the confusion, stigma, ignorance and alienation from society, friends and sometimes family. I would long to have a place where I can truly be me and not feel like the other. I also searched in desperation for a place that offered education to enlighten me and those close to me, because sometimes it’s the lack of education about mental illness that leads to more suffering and eventually death.
Depressed, I have crawled on my hands and knees in order to get to the other side of the room and have done it for month after month. But normal or manic, I have run faster than most I know. And I think much of it is related to my illness.
When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar I was filled with immense confusion. I was stuck on the dark side of the disease and the words which I have always used; crazy, mad, uyaphamabana, uyahlanya etc seemed to hit home. I was ashamed. That was until my psychologist suggested that I read a book called, An Unquiet Mind, by Kate Redfield Jamis. It broke open my mind and calmed all my fears about my next chapter. I found an incredible quote that I use when people ask me what it’s like suffering from a mental illness which always leaves them “Aha-ing. It states;
With BlackLIGHT we hope to create a place of love and a sanctuary that offers shelter and light. I say “We” because a community made this happen.
“Depressed, I have crawled on my hands and knees in order to get to the other side of the room and have done it for month after month. But normal or manic, I have run faster than most I know. And I think much of it is related to my illness – the intensity it gives to things and the perspective it forces on me. I love more because love taught me a great deal about manic-depressive illness. Love can help; it can make the pain more tolerable.” – Kate Redfield Jami.
With BlackLIGHT we hope to create a place of love and a sanctuary that offers shelter and light. I say “We” because a community made this happen. My business partner, Pearl Lebogang Nicodemus and I started this during a conversation in a café. And she committed, believed and helped me mould the idea into reality. Our contributors offered their voices and words for free because they also believed. Our family and friends provided ever-lasting support and inspiration because they believed. Our featured stars provided their time because they believed. Now we are here because we believed and everyone else believed too even during the times we had lost hope.
I hope when you go through the magazine you see your reflection. And I hope you walk away a better person full of new understanding, hope, faith and love. That blackness must be turned into light because we were born to be light.
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti