Mental health is often ignored or not addressed in the black community. I remember telling my mother I was depressed and she told me to pray. Don’t get me wrong, prayer helps but sometimes it’s more than that. At times, there’s a chemical imbalance that needs to be leveled. You cannot fight this fight alone—depression is so real and for years I’ve fought my own mental battles. Over the past few years, I experienced my worst bout of it. I thought I was losing my mind; I grew weary of being in that dark space and sought professional help. If you’re facing depression, please understand that you cannot do this alone.
A few weeks ago, I watched an interview on the Breakfast Club a few weeks back with Shad Moss (Lil’ Bow Wow). He was speaking on the frustrations of co-parenting with his daughter’s mother, travelling the world and suicide. Suicide? Yes, suicide—this kid has accomplished so much at a young age—traveled the world multiple times, worked with a lot of big names in the industry, has taken on different roles—acting, hosting talk shows, participating in reality shows, etc. You name it and Moss has probably done it. What shocked me was to hear how frustrated he was with life and recently threatened to jump off the balcony because he was tired of living.
This is an entertainer but I need you to stop for a second and assess the people around you. One good thing is that he’s voicing these thoughts but what about the individuals that are hurting in silence. Y’all we got to pay attention to those around us too. If you notice a drastic mood change for the worst, please step up and ask questions. If you have a girlfriend that is normally the social butterfly but all of a sudden, months go by without you seeing or talking to her; I challenge you to check on her.
When I was dealing with depression in 2012-2013. I secluded myself from family and friends. I felt ashamed of the situation that I was dealing with. Very few people knew that my husband (at the time) and I were separated. I was fighting so many demons in private. I was a single mom of a 6-year-old, brand new baby, and somehow trying to save my marriage despite all the obvious signs that told me I shouldn’t.
At no point did I want to kill myself because I feared who’d raise my children, I wondered what their life would be without me in it and thought—there’s no way I could do that to them.
Do I know Shad Moss personally, no? Do I follow up with these celebs, not really; I’ve got my own life to worry about. This topic However, suicide is no joke. Depression is no joke. We all fight our own battles but living is one that you need to continue fighting. Don’t let depression get you to thinking that there’s nothing worth living for.
Find something in your life that gives you a reason. LAUGH and do so loudly—there’s so many times I wanted to curl up and cry my eyes out (well, I did for months but soon that s*it got old too).
Right now, I’m working on my first novel and as jot down some drastic things that occurred in my life, I’m thinking, WTF? If you knew me during these times, you’d never know that I was depressed because as a black woman, I learned to mask my pain well. I was taught to keep your feelings to yourself and to cry when you’re alone because that’s a sign of weakness. The world needs to continue to see you as tough, strong, powerful but ladies—sisters—there isn’t weakness in vulnerability. I found strength and purpose in my vulnerability and I challenge you to find something that keeps you pushing forward.
I’ll laugh all of the time to deter myself from crying—I’ll make light of a situation because sometimes feeling that pain is so dark and I refused to be sucked in. Depression is like a leech and once it’s attached—hope and peace are relinquished.
When I was depressed, I’d watch reruns of Martin, Good Times, Tyler Perry’s plays, Kevin Hart’s stand ups—laughter helped me deal with my depressions. NO matter how much you may want to feel badly and stay in that space because there’s moments when you’re so negative, “I don’t want to smile”, “there’s nothing to be happy about.”There’s times when you prefer to be miserable because that emptiness is so comforting and familiar. Depression will make you believe that you have no options. Find a way to push past that shallow space. You are worth the fight.… Click To Tweet
Shake that s*it off!
Find an outlet and do it now before it’s too late. One of my dear friends committed suicide in 2013 and that took such a toll on me. I never knew he was as depressed as he was. I was dealing with my own demons that I didn’t make time to be there for him. I always think, if I picked up the phone to say, “hey, are you okay” more would it still have happened.
I implore you to be cognizant. Pay attention to the obvious signs that may not be verbal outcries.
To the person reading this that may feel like there’s no point in living—please feel free to hit me up on any of my social media accounts. I know what that darkness feels like. Please push yourself and get help.