Monday, December 17

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Living in Silence - Black Women and Depression

Why do I need to see a therapist, I am not crazy?!.. No one in my family speaks to a therapist - we go to church! God will handle any of my problems...That girl is so crazy, she needs to go to a therapist so they can medicate her...Nothing is wrong, I'm FINE.
Black women and women of color are 60% more likely to suffer from mental health disorders. Surprising? We don’t often see this image in the media or up for discussion. Mental health has always been seen as something that’s a “white issue” or that’s what “they” suffer from, not us. We are people of strength, endurance and resilience that have collectively and individually been through too many struggles to let emotion get to us. How can something as intangible as our emotions or mental state cause feelings of depression and wanting to give up on life? But most of us live in environments where our feelings aren’t given any weight and our emotions are somehow a measure of how much faith we have. But sometimes life has the tendency to pile things on. We keep pushing it aside because we have to wake up every morning and face the world. But then pushing it aside leads to a messy pile of emotions that become unbearable to handle.
The world around us tells us that feelings of fear, anger, jealousy, and confusion are the bad emotions of weak people. But, depression is a slippery slope that we can all head down if we don’t take the time and effort to check in with ourselves. No matter how spiritual / religious you are, or how much love and support you receive from family / friends, sometimes you need to seek outside help. Ladies, therapy is not a bad word.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend an event put on by the Women’s Health in Women’s Hand’s organization. The event was to launch their Mental Health initiative – an initiative started because of the realization that it is the number one issue that women come to their organization for. Although, there is a silence in our community in speaking about mental health, the numbers they receive seeking help screams out the need for more programs like this.
The event featured an awesome lineup of speakers – author Kim Green, author and psychotherapist Farzana Doctor, and author/poet Staceyann Chin – who are all wellness advocates and very active in breaking the silence and stigma around mental health in our community.
The room was filled with such support, laughter and sharing as the panelists were very candid about their own experiences as well as members from the audience sought clarity for their own issues. It was beautiful to see a room full of women who were unashamed, open and willing to be so vulnerable.
The message of the night that was made clear that seeking help is not about being medicated, as often times doctors try to diagnose and push prescriptions. Seeking therapy is about accepting that the load you are carrying is too heavy to carry by yourself.
So, take this week to get silent, check in on your mental and emotional state. Are you really fine or have you just become too used to saying it? If praying, meditating, speaking to a pastor or friend works for you then do that. But, if all of those things still don’t seem to be enough to calm what you feel, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The strongest sisters are the ones that are the most willing to be vulnerable.
Have a happy and peaceful Monday!
P.S. To learn more about the Women’s Health in Women’s Hand initiative visit here.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I went through a period of time when I had a falling out with my best friend, broke up with my boyfriend, and lost my job all within a matter of months. It was just too emotionally overwhelming for me and I could not handle it on my own so I sought the help of a therapist. Best investment I've ever made in myself because therapy helped me find my strength again. It's just sad that I didn't feel comfortable enough to share my experience with my family as I feared that they would judge me. Thank you for this.