It has been 61,332 hours (and counting) since the moment I was diagnosed with having clinical depression. Until this moment I have never fully owned up to how this mental illness takes a toll on my life because as a Black woman, I can be angry, I can be a bitch, I can be moody and I can drink more than I should but I can never be depressed.
I have been reluctant to talk about my depression with many African-American people because I’m met with this ideology that being in a depressive state is a personal weakness.
You see, as a Black girl depression is inexcusable because our people made it through slavery. We don’t have time to be lazy and weak because you have so much to prove to society. That I experience these heavy bouts of sadness because of my faithlessness but if only those who speak these misconceptions knew how hard I pray and seek “betterness” with God. I even write down my blessings on a daily basis to remind myself of all of the things I have to be happy for. But positive affirmations don’t take away from the silent suffering or the days of mental exhaustion that make it hard to do simple tasks like eating, getting off the couch or keeping in touch with my immediate circle. Hearing that I choose to be in this state (while there is some truth to patterned thinking, it is not the only truth) is hardening.
Who would wants to go through the day not knowing when they will cry? Continually feeling exhausted? Experiencing frequent panic attacks? Losing weight? Or all the physical pains that come when you mind overexerts itself that do not react to any form of treatment? This has been my day for years now and I don’t complain nor do I seek pity.
Life is full of joys and pains this ying and yang is what makes the ride all the more better. Everyone gets sad from time to time and everyone has the capability of being depressed at one point or another. But for me sadness just does not totally go away, I have to maneuver every aspect of my life in order just to “happy.” This is why I find solace in Kid Cudi or other artists who write about this state of being because unless you live it, people don’t respect or understand it fully.
I neglected my depression because of all the backlash I received whenever I voiced my misery to friends or family. The neglect of the problem at hand led to anxiety attacks and insomnia and my over active mind learning to deal by developing a slight form of OCD. Through OCD and writing I have developed control over material something I lack with my emotional state.
When I was first diagnosed with clinical depression it came from being homesick when I was in college and lasted for a few months. Since, then I’ve had periodical depressive moments but nothing like the monster of my current episode. Situational factors in the last few months of my life had added to the severity of this one, love lost, unfulfilling career moves, stress, you name it in the last few months I’ve experienced it. All these circumstances have erupted into the mess that is my current state.
I am consulting with professional help to deal with my anxiety. Someone who does not meet my feelings with doubtful scorn or disappointmet. Turns out that my depression may really be genetic and a chemical imbalance more than it is me wallowing. I refuse to take medication because it makes me feel like a walking zombie and a great part of my sadness is who I am creatively.
Taking holistic measures, as I change my diet, eliminate my chemical intake and try to gain control over myself again, all I want is for Black people not to write me off as weak. I look or act nothing like everything I have been through and most people in my shoes would have given up.
I get that as a people we still have to prove so much to the world,that we have it together, that we are strong and capable. But Feelings do not make us weak they make us human. The sooner we deal with them individually, we will be better as a whole.