DDBW: Getting It Off Your Chest
African Americans women are more likely to suffer from depression but are less likely to be treated for depression due to the cultural stigma of mental illness in the Black community, feelings of shame and embarrassment, lack of health insurance, and lack of understanding of the illness. Black people, Black women particularly, need to start talking about depression. We don’t have to suffer in silence. It’s time for those who suffer with depression to admit they’re hurting and struggling mentally. I’m standing here today to say I am a Black woman, a mother, a Christ-follower, and I suffer from depression. I pray my openness, honesty and vulnerability about my depression, will help another Black woman find the courage to talk about her depression too.
A few weekends ago, my sister-in-law had an adult sleepover that she dub the “Waiting to Exhale Sleepover.” It was too much fun, and while what happened at the sleepover stays at the sleepover, I can say this, there is something so freeing about sharing your experiences with others and hearing others story.
Most of us hold so much in, we are a closed book. I know I do it for fear of looking weak, or incapable, or out of shame, if I’m honest. Even if I do share with my closest sister friend I still hold a little back, usually the most painful, embarrassing, or shameful parts.
But at the sleepover most ladies shared their stories with the group, I didn’t. cause you know, I’m an introvert and I didn’t feel comfortable. But honestly, I wish I pressed through the uncomfortable-ness and shared.
After everyone shared and offered advice to each other, I felt like a weigh was lifted off my shoulders and I didn’t even share, so I can only imagine how the ladies who did share felt.
For me, it was refreshing to know that I’m not alone in my experiences, that there are women out there who have been through some of the same things that I’ve been through. Hearing their reasoning behind their actions made me realize some of my reasoning and sensibilities.
I realized just how important it is to have open and honest conversations in safe and non-judgmental environments, just to get things off your chest, if for no other reason but to lift the weight of it off your shoulders.
If you are suffering from depression and don’t want to take medications, try talk therapy. A professional therapist is ideal, however, if you can’t go that route, a support group is a great option. Just getting a group of your closest friends together, like my sis did, with finger foods and wine. Just make sure that everyone understands that the group is a safe, non-judgmental place for sharing and healing. And that everything shared stays in the group.
I’m praying on starting a support group myself for women of color who suffer with depression. The Holy Spirit hasn’t said yes just yet, but I will let you know when and if He does. Join the mailing list to stay informed and don’t forget to connect on social media.
May God be with you until we meet again.