I typed a text to my mom with the words, “I don’t think I want to live anymore” then proceeded to turn my phone to airplane mode. I was sitting in my bed surrounded in a puddle of tears ready to give up on life .With thoughts of suicide swimming through my head, it was at that moment I had to admit I had a problem. I had two options; get the help I needed or just end it all.
Considering I am typing this post right now, I am sure you can tell what I decided to do. I started to seek solutions rather than hiding under a mountain of blankets, but the interesting thing is that working on myself was not the hardest part of my journey with depression. Funny enough, it was explaining to the people I love.
Two months later, I am telling a close friend about my journey, from the puddle of tears to the daily struggles I overcome. I mention my suicidal thoughts, my depressive episodes, and the need for black communities to speak up about depression and suicide. When I look up from my long rant, I could not believe the look on her face. She was simply speechless. She could not understand why a girl with a bright smile and a promising future could be depressed or worse ever feel like committing suicide. The conversation came to an abrupt end and instead of feeling supported, a small portion of me felt embarrassed.
This would not be the first time. As, I spread my story through blogging, I found close family and friends who just did not understand. Continuing to be honest and open, I started to wonder why I got these reactions.
Depression is still a taboo subject in the black community and catches other Black Americans by surprise, but as scary as it is, it is important to be open and honest about your depression now. Here’s why:
Feel Liberated: You will never feel a greater feeling than being honest with yourself and the people you love. I hate the feeling of being depressed, but I love seeing how far I have come. That progress did not happen overnight. When I look back at that sad young woman who was ready to give up on the world and then look at the strong women I have become, I feel empowered. Embody your inner warrior, because you are not a victim. You are a conqueror!
Give Support: I would spend days in my bed crying and believing that no one could possibly understand this feeling of pain and hopelessness. The moment I started blogging about my depression on blaqueandblue.com was the moment I began to get texts and e-mails from friends who felt the same way. They were depressed about their careers, illness in their family, and just life in general. My testimony was an outlet and support system for others.
Dispel Myths: I am a strong black woman. I have two degrees; I have a loving family; and I am respected in my community, yet I still suffer from depression. There are days when I can’t get out of bed, because I am in so much mental pain. Depression comes in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and social statuses. Let others know that depression is not just a white person's issue.
Depression and suicide are hard topics to talk about especially in our community where we tend to hide under the stereotypes of “Strong Black Women” and phrases like “Real Men Don’t Cry”, but it all starts with YOU! Speak up and be heard. Let your journey with depression be a blessing to others.