Don’t Ignore the Signs

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It saddens me to hear about yet another relationship gone terribly wrong.  In case you haven’t heard the latest news, rapper Earl Hayes who was once signed to Floyd Mayweather’s record label decided to take a tragically different approach to reconciliation by shooting his wife and star of VH1’s reality show Hit the Floor, Stephanie Moseley, then taking his own life in an apparent murder-suicide.

Stephanie Moseley/Earl Hayes

While we will never know exactly what took place in the moments leading up to this tragic event on the morning of Monday December 8th, it seems as if Stephanie may have been in the dark about how bad things really were between them since she had just told relatives days earlier that “things had been going pretty well”.  On the other hand, there’s a strong possibility that she knew exactly what the state of the relationship was and did what so many of us may do – save face and lie instead of having to explain to our loved ones about what’s really going on. One thing we definitely know is that Hayes had been suffering from depression and emotional instability and even friends knew about it.

Mental illness is nothing to play around with and while more than 54 million Americans have a form of illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or panic disorders, most aren’t seeking any type of treatment.  Sadly, this is the case particularly when it comes to blacks and if we drilled a little further I would go so far as to say this relates to black men more often than we are willing to admit.

As I review the different stories surfacing about the Hayes/Moseley tragedy and think about the other high profile incidents where one or both people in a relationship had been known to suffer from a mental illness, I am truly thankful for having dodged a few bullets myself.  There have been a few men from my past who had either shown me the signs indirectly (displays of extreme mood swings, jealous behavior etc..) or directly (suicide attempts, physical assault) as early as my teenage years, and as recently as a few years ago.

You can call it lack of compassion and understanding, or not really have caring for the man as much as I professed to at the time, but I call it common sense.  Just like any kind of addiction, if you’re dealing with someone suffering from a condition who fails to acknowledge it and seek help, you’re spinning your wheels trying to help them.  I’m sure this beautiful woman knew exactly what kinds of demons her husband was dealing with or maybe she wasn’t 100% sure but you know most certainly, the signs were there.

Even at an early age I recognized the signs from these men of my past who were definitely suffering from one or more forms of mental illness and even with feelings and love, chose me and chose to live because I’m pretty sure that at least one has it in him to take the same course of action as Earl Hayes.

The struggle is real.

Carmen Jones