What brings you joy?
It's so interesting how rarely people think about this question, myself included. I find joy in spending time with family and being in the presence of loved ones. There's a certain type of sensation that I get when I am amongst them. I also find joy in bringing joy to others, I think that's the most genuine type of joy. I really love to help people whether that be financially, giving my time and physical assistance or providing advice. Being there for people in their time of need brings me sense of fulfillment.
Kamren Rollins' Mental Health Story:
My mental health story? It's odd for me to write this and honestly this has been a question that has stumped me for a while. I don't know the "proper" way to answer this question, but I'm going to give the most transparent answer I possibly can. So this past academic year has been really challenging for me due to many things that are not related to my academics. In the Fall semester my cousin, Marcus Edwards, was murdered. He was a Senior at Morgan State University. I don't know, but I think his death changed me. I began to question everything because I just really didn't understand anything anymore. I questioned God, and even life in general. Not, in a suicidal way, but I just really didn't understand the purpose of our lives anymore, if they could just be taken away so quickly no matter how "good" we may be. This was not the first time I lost someone close to me and not the first time it has been through violence, but this, it hit me hard. Just a few months prior to this another one of my cousins was shot in the back of his head while he was walking with his daughter.
There was a time I just loss my passion. This was something that never happened to me before, I stopped caring about school, friends, and everything else. My mother would have panic attacks and was suffering from very bad anxiety.
"I slowly drifted away from everyone, I felt like I had to hold everything in, and that I did. I hid it well though, walking around campus no one would ever have knew what was going on with me eternally. They couldn't began to imagine how angry I was, not at anyone specifically, just angry at the world for what they had continuously done to my family. Maybe I was angry at God."
I think I had some of my lowest grades ever last semester, I just couldn't bring myself to speak with anyone about the situation. I would get writing assignments for class, have the word document open right in front of me for hours, but I just couldn't write anything; no matter how much I wanted to. I couldn't even cry. I walked passed the counseling center daily, but I could never go in. I wanted to speak with my teachers about what was going on, but I could never muffle up the words to say anything.
"Ironically enough, I was the student always telling people that they should got speak with someone, if they felt like they needed to, but I just, I just couldn't."
I was always there for everyone it felt strange to ask anyone to be there for me. This is the first time that I am even talking about this. I guess I didn't want anyone to think I was unable to handle everything, because I am so used to handling everything. So it's true what they say, "strength is in asking for help." No matter who you are it is okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to be in pain. I guess if God didn't make me go through one of these phases in my life, I would never be able to help someone get through theirs. So I thank him for it, I thank him for it all.
What word of advice you would give someone that is currently struggling with their mental health?
As people, more specifically Black men, it's important for us to be open and vulnerable, because it is at that time that we are able to create pathways for more of us to do the same. We all go through similar struggles, it's impossible for anybody to face this world alone, and we shouldn't have to. So I would tell them to pray but always try to find someone who can motivate you to push through your tests.