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KB: ‘We Have to Be Serious About Mental Health’

KB: ‘We Have to Be Serious About Mental Health’

Therapy has grown immensely over the last several years, as leaders and mental health experts have shared the importance of taking care of your mind and your emotions. And while young adults are leading the charge in seeking mental health, that doesn’t mean it’s accessible to everyone. In fact, for most adults, seeking therapy is a “privilege.”

That’s how rapper KB views therapy. As a self-described “pro-therapy advocate,” KB understands first-hand how privileged he is to have a good therapist in his life. Someone who can help him work through all the big and small issues in life, which he opens up about on his album His Glory Alone 2.

On The RELEVANT Podcast, KB shared how important therapy is to him, and why he hopes therapy becomes more accessible to those in need.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

What are some of the things that you go into in your personal life on this album? 

KB: I think one of the big pieces is I talk about is wrestling with being a father and who has been fatherless. I’m wrestling with that dynamic. You know, you’re always the same age on the inside. There are things that I went through — let’s call them daddy wounds — that I would have thought that I was above, especially being a father. I started feeling like, “I don’t need a father, I am a father.” But there’s still a child inside of you that went through something that is still animating. Many of the ways you feel, or some of the actions you might find yourself kind of carrying out, those things need to be brought to the feet of Jesus.

But they don’t get there unless we talk about them. So I think that’s one of the main ways where I get vulnerable about the limitations and the challenges of my story.

How have you personally process the difficulties you’ve faced?

I think that a continual kind of challenge for me is not becoming over reliant on my abilities — my ability to be spiritual, my ability to be insightful, my ability to be smart or to read and articulate what they’re saying. Even my ability to manage relationships and manage people. It’s very easy to get very confident in those things and then find that you are not in control. The older you get, the more you learn of how not in control you are. Especially when your body is breaking down without warning.

Control is a myth. For me, I am taking that truth that I am not in control, I can’t control things. I am dependent in a lot of ways. One of those dependencies that I am unashamed of is on community, on the council of godly friends and a good therapist. I have consumed my life in those realities — community friendships, spiritual advisory from shepherds and leaders, and good therapy.

I thought about this the other day, that it’s a privilege to be able to have that. Part of it is worked on, right? A community, you have to earn that to some degree. A lot of long years of working and walking through stuff with people. It gives you a rich, rich friendships. But as I think about the ability to pick up the phone and call three or four people who are invested in me personally, not everybody has that.

It’s the same thing with therapy. If your insurance doesn’t pay that, you’re out of pocket. It’s expensive. And I realize that I don’t know where I would be without those things, but there’s so many people who are walking through this stuff alone. They’re hurting like anyone else would be. So as I’m talking about these things, I’m having to do with my hat in hand and seeing that the Lord has been very, very gracious to allow me these resources.

But I want to be an advocate for churches, for our government, for insurance companies, to see the seriousness of being able to support doctors of the soul, as well as doctors of the body.

Why do you feel like men struggle more with going to therapy?

I think men have been socialized to not be in touch with their emotions. I think a part of the socialization in our country is, you know, from misogyny to toxic masculinity, all of those buzzwords are all intersected into a man’s experience in this land.

I think when we say stuff like “women are emotional and men are rational,” you don’t give great thought to some of the most emotionally regulated people that I know are women, and some of the most unregulated, uncontrolled people are men. I haven’t heard of many women who someone stepped on their heels and they shot the woman or the person that did it. You hear what I’m saying?

Dealing with the inner expressways and highways of our emotions is something that we see that women do. We handle our issues with just sucking it up or putting up our fists — metaphorically or literally. That’s a massive mistake, and men are falling behind in dramatic ways, largely to do with the ways in which we have not valued what is going on inside of our souls and how the society also doesn’t value it. You’re not encouraged to take days off to get some mental health together, or you’re not supported in the event that there’s a major change in your life.

It is our men that are walking in the schools and shooting them up in the public places. It is our men who are taking their own lives at a rate that has exceeded all the major wars in modern history put together. You put all the deaths of men from the major wars, the AIDS epidemic — you put all that together, and men are taking their own lives at higher rates than all of that.

That is an issue of mental health. It’s a crisis that we have to be serious about approaching. Men especially, we have to be serious about our mental health. I appreciate men who we see traditionally as strong, athletes or fighters or leaders, who are publicly saying, “Hey, the most courageous thing that I’ve done all year is that I look my wife in my face and said, ‘I need help.'” That’s courage. That’s manliness. That is strength.

What what are some of the differences you’ve noticed in your life since you’ve gone to therapy?

I think the things that we need in this life are largely for emotional stability and they largely stem from communication. Violence, for example, is a language. It’s a way that, especially for men, that can help you understand what it is that I am feeling on the inside. It’s a mode of communication. Being able to identify what is happening in your heart with a term is so helpful. Whether it’s abandonment or imposter syndrome or ego or narcissism or narcissistic, being able to have categories from empirical data from human behavior that’s been studied over the years so you can put a name on a wound.

To put it in perspective, my mom has several conditions, and for years we could not figure out what it was. I remember the day that we got a diagnosis we rejoiced. We praised God, because now we know what we’re aiming at. Now we know what we are going after.

The internal workings of the soul are similar in the ways that you’ve been injured. You need to know what part of your soul has been injured because that drives our behavior. That’s been helpful for me, because as I’ve been able to name my own wounds, I’ve been able to communicate what it is that I am feeling, and then get tools to work through those things, to push back on those things, to help correct those things.

I don’t think it’s just therapists that do that, but it’s what pastors are for, spiritual leaders are for, community is for. It’s people bringing their kind of perspective, their means of communication to the table, and us finding a way to basically reach those wounds through the tools we’re learning from this arsenal of wisdom and therapy.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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