thee.waynekash /
Gabriela Herstik
September 07, 2017 1:29 pm

It’s not an exaggeration to say that we still have a long way to go when it comes to conversations about mental illness. The good thing, however, is that these conversations are happening right now. While some may dismiss social media as frivolous or fake, the truth is that using social media to discuss mental illness is a huge step forward in starting a crucial dialogue.

Adding to the conversation, Wayne Kash, a Detroit-based makeup artist, posted a before and after Instagram that showed him covering a bruise on his client Troi’s face. The unexpected backlash that came with not having an explanation for the injury then led Troi to share her story, and to make an important point about mental illness in the process.

In an Instagram post, Troi explains the real reason she had a black eye.

While many assumed it was a boxing injury (she’s a boxer), the truth is that Troi’s bruise was caused by her brother’s mental illness. She wrote,

"Unless you live or have lived in a house with a mentally ill person, you wouldn't understand this picture nor my injury. Mental Illnesses & Mental Disorders ARE REAL! Unfortunately, my brother suffers from a severe mental illness called Schizoaffective Disorder (google it) and I just so happened to be in the way when he flipped out. My brother [has] never put his hands on me before, so of course I was caught off guard.."

She explained that this happened days before her 21st birthday, which left her feeling embarrassed and hurt. Thankfully, with her family and Wayne’s help, she was back to feeling like she could celebrate. And when Wayne found out the true reason for the bruise, he also showed his support, posting on Instagram about the strength and courage it took Troi to publicly share such a personal story.

#Day2 with my beautiful, BRAVE, and spectacular client @thereal_troi 😍😍😍❤️ The other day before she came in she told me not be shocked because she was a fighter and she had a bruise. When she came in she had an amazingly kind spirit and I asked her if we could take some before photographs because I knew I would be able to cover the bruise. She agreed and she also let me decide on the look. We both knew the before and after picture would be great for advertisement. We never imagined the image would go viral. After receiving so many harsh and negative comments from internet TROLLS @thereal_troi decided to disclose where the bruise actually came from. Her brother who suffers from mental illness had an episode and she was accidentally injured. She never lied to me. She is a fighter, a boxer. There are pictures on her page. I just assumed that that's where the scar came from. I can't imagine the amount of bravery it must have taken for her to disclose the real story behind her bruise. We don't take mental illness serious, especially in the African American community. So I commend her for her bravery and I stand with her as she continues on living a healthy and happy life. Your negative comments are ignored and her spirit isn't broken by the ignorance. She wanted to be beautiful for her birthday despite what she'd been through. Black women are the strongest creatures on this planet. So if you're going to say anything, talk about the fact that she's STILL STANDING AND STILL SMILING. Look at that smile, there's God in it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #quithating

A post shared by Detroit's Makeup Artist 🤴🏾 (@thee.waynekash) on

We couldn’t agree more, and we’re thankful for the reminder that mental illness is real. It’s something that affects both the person suffering and those around them. As long as we have these conversations, we’ll continue to remove the stigma that this is something to be ashamed or scared of.

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