"Successful. Loved. Gifted. Ambitious. Somewhat Healthy. Safe. Accomplished.... yet-- feeling lost, empty but full, behind, failing, overwhelmed and underwhelmed, hard to love, alone and lonely, stuck, helpless sometimes hopeless-- extremely tired."
This is an honest description of my life over the past couple years: Major Depression
I have achieved so much and life has been so good to me, yet the lows are extremely low and I could not seem to pull myself out of this darkness. There was a time where I was watching myself going through life- I was not living, life was happening to me. On the outside, it is usually hard to decipher my mental or emotional status, and even though I would describe myself as transparent, there are certain things that I would keep to myself as a way to protect those that love me.
I had more days that I was angry to still be alive, than days where I was grateful for life.
But how do you put that feeling into words?
With all the good in my life, how do I express this heaviness?
Am I ungrateful? Am I selfish? Does it make sense to express these feelings if very little will change?
One of my biggest fears was having to "defend" having depression despite being successful.
It is hard enough having to live through it and experience it.
This post was inspired by the late Cheslie Kryst and the discussion about her struggles with depression on The Red Table that led to suicide.
Listening to her mother reading her final message truly resonated with me in every way- I had chills thinking about how I could have easily been the one that written those words because I could relate to her so much.
I decided to "talk" aka write about this because so many of us are struggling in silence, and because we are high functioning, we don't "look" the part. (Depression does not have a look).
Dear Black Woman, You are not alone.
In addition to professional and personal responsibilities, unfair and unattainable expectations we place on ourselves-- society has placed such great burden on us.
We are tired. We've been tired.
We do not want to be "Strong Black Women".
We want to be happy, healthy and thriving.
We do not want to be "resilient"
--as if struggling through oppressive systems is some badge of honor.
Self-care is not enough.
We need systemic change that provides environments that are conducive to mental healthiness, access to quality mental health care and resources, opportunities to thrive without the fight.
How do I cope?
Make time for people, things and activities that nourishes my soul. For example, gardening.
Curating my community and support system: pouring into those who pour into me.
Be honest with myself about my feelings and emotions without judgement-- recognize that I am having a human experience.
Positive self-talk; strength-based thinking.
Live intentionally, be present and in the moment, live mindfully.
Psychotropic medications like antidepressants and therapy.
Take "brain breaks" like meditation, energy clearing and cleansing practices.
Write, blog, talk....find an outlet to release strong feelings and emotions.
Remind myself of my purpose in this life--it is bigger than me.
Thanks for being here. It is quite therapeutic to get some of my thoughts out. I hope some parts of this message resonates with you in a positive way. Would love to engage and hear from you.
Life is tough, you are tougher. However, you are one person--find safe haven in community.
You deserve connections that excite your soul & calm your mind at the same time.