The hit HBO show Insecure has taken everyone by storm. Issa Rae went from being an indie YouTube darling to a Covergirl with one of television’s most talked about shows. One of the most controversial characters is Issa’s boyfriend-turned-ex, Lawrence Walker. For Black Twitter and the black blogosphere, Lawrence is either the hero or villain. In the show, Lawrence spent two years unemployed, sitting on the couch working on his ‘business plan.’ He graduated from an Ivy league school, but the job market wasn’t too kind to him during his relationship with Issa. She spent the majority of their relationship carrying the financial and emotional burden. It was evident that Lawrence was depressed and still is depressed given his inability to maintain a stable relationship with any woman. Not to mention his strange obsession with his girlfriend-turned-ex and her sexual exploits.
Unfortunately, the show missed an excellent opportunity to delve into the interplay between mental health, race, and masculinity. The show mentioned Lawrence’s depression only in passing toward the end of season two. We never see the catalyst for his depression and inconsistent behavior. Was it not finding a job or something else? Hopefully, in later seasons we will get more of Lawrence’s backstory and history. Notably, the show did have one of their characters, Molly, attend therapy. This is a good thing in black cinema since many black folks seek mental health services from the church or don’t seek help at all. But, someone still needs to ask Lawrence, “You good, man?”
I Got the Blues
I spent most of my youth and young adult years dealing with anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. There was days, weeks, and months where I felt happy, confident, and excellent. On the other hand, there were times where I went to a dangerous place mentally. I was extremely self-critical, lacked confidence, and let other people easily sway my emotions. It was a daily internal battle with my own mind. Fortunately, I was able to make a turn for the better by the time I reached thirty.But this means I spent my late teens and all of my 20s like my man Lawrence. I was depressed, sad, and insecure. My dating life during my single days was filled with the good, bad, and ugly. I do often wonder how different my dating life could have been if I wasn’t dealing with mental health issues. Like Lawrence, I did a lot of stupid shit, too.
Dating While Blue
For those of you out there dating when down, these tips may help:
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Don’t take dating too seriously
- Try to have fun
- If extraordinarily depressed or suicidal, please seek professional help immediately
Dating and relationships are supposed to be a time of self-discovery and building a connection with other people. Depression and anxiety can feel like a gloomy cloud following you around all time even when the sun is shining bright. Some days it’s pretty hard to leave the house, let alone mingle with potential #baes. You will be hard yourself for every little mistake you make. You will question yourself and not take the risk of approaching your crush or that cute person in class, the grocery store, online (dating sites, that is), or at the bar. It is important to realize when you’re depressed that other people have their flaws like you do too. It doesn’t make you a terrible person it makes you human. Dating can be fun and exciting, but if you’re depressed, it’ll seem like every new person you date could be the one to make your life enjoyable again. As we saw with Lawrence, having a girlfriend didn’t make his mental health issues get any better. In fact, it’s the source of conflict in his contentious relationship with Issa.
Unfortunately, no one can bring you happiness, contentment, and self-worth. It must come from within. This is why it’s important to seek professional help if you’re suffering from clinical depression, insomnia, anxiety, harmful or suicidal thoughts, and/or engaging in reckless behavior for a month or longer. Talk therapy is one of the best options for individuals dealing with depression. For those who lack quality access to health care, look for free clinics, sliding scale therapeutic services, and mental health hotlines in your area. Professionals, there will be able to assist with your path to recovery.
Dating should be fun and exciting. Unfortunately, dating while depressed can make you look like a ‘fuckboy’ like my main man Lawrence. Don’t be like that, get help, do everything to get better, and be sure the allow yourself to have fun. Be honest, practice safe sex, and enjoy getting to know new people. And please do flirt because it’s fun af.