I believe my story starts long before I first understood my experience to be that of depression. I've witnessed someone being shot, lost my twin sister, was raped multiple times, and separated from my siblings, all before the age of 5. However, I never had anyone during that time stop to acknowledge the pain that came along with those experiences, which resulted in me burying that pain for many years, as if those things never happened. I struggled years after those experiences , with connecting with others, because I had no idea what it was like to feel loved.
Mentally it was, and has been, a very challenging process to want to love, but feel caged in by your experiences, so much so, you're unable to fully express that feeling to others. CLICK TO TWEET
By the time I was 18 yrs old, I was so broken that I wasn't surprised when I entered into an abusive relationship in college. It was almost as if others could see my brokenness upon meeting me, which actually was confirmed as true by my abuser. Accepting my responsibility in the experience completely broke me emotionally. I broke down inside, but functioned as the happy go lucky, driven person outwardly...that is until I could no longer carry the weight of the mask I hid behind. After going through the court process with my abuser, only for him to receive a slap on the wrist, as if my experience didn't count, I knew it was the icing on the top that would send me over. I shut down. I went a whole week missing classes, not leaving my room, and only falling asleep from exhaustion of crying, and talking to my mom.
What made matters worse, was that my grandmother, someone who had become my best friend, had gone a whole year without speaking to me, because of this relationship, and never came to be supportive as I was going through the breakup. To this day she stills feels she was right to turn away from me during that time period. However, at the time It was yet another blow, in the midst of my already sinking ship.
I've learned that God often finds way to help you in the midst of very dark times. CLICK TO TWEET
While in college, I met a woman who worked at my school, who basically took me under her wings for the remainder of my time at Winston-Salem State University. She was and still is, my guardian angel. I'll never forget the relief I felt to finally be seen for the broken person that I was. She acknowledged my pain, and truly saw that I was deserving of better. That year was the first time I actually felt all of the pain that I managed to hold in for well over ten years. I had no idea it was brewing beneath the surface, because I had become a master at hiding it, even from myself. I would later experience, several other times of locking myself in my room as I transitioned from College to Grad school (Ohio), and Grad school, back home to Charlotte, NC. It was in Ohio, that I realized I had an issue, that I needed to confront. I started to research the symptoms of depression. I would often be told by therapists that I'd see, that anyone who suffered the experiences I had would have a breakdown at some point. Actually, they were more surprised that I hadn't had symptoms earlier. I've never been officially diagnosed with Depression, but it has recently been something that I've been aware of. Since becoming more aware of what triggers those episodes, I've been able to suppress how often I go into those moods. As someone who's faith in God, has a major influence on how I deal with life, prayer and finding a spot where I can go and think has been a major key to me having less bouts with depression.
One thing I've learned about this condition, is it's an ever-present thing that can be triggered for me, by major changes, disappointments, or hardships. However, the more I see it as yet another thing to overcome, the more I'm able to deal with it day by day. Yes, there are days where I want to hide from the world, and sometimes I succumb to those feelings, but I'm aware that doing so will only lead to downward spiral for me. Once I allow those feelings to take over, it often takes a long time to come out of them. Time that I feel is deserving of happiness.
Each day, I try to wake up and choose life by reading the bible, praying, and speaking/encouraging/affirming myself. CLICK TO TWEET
Knowing whose (God's child) I am, has played a role in living with this condition, and is presently, why I can say I've gone eight months without a major episode. I'm grateful for my journey, and hopeful that living with depression won't stop me from becoming all that God want's me to be, but will allow me the opportunity to help others.
Latasha, 23, charlotte, North Carolina
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