Until recently, depression and the topic of mental health has been swept under the rug. Especially within the black community (I say this by experience). It’s nothing more relieving than coming to terms with how you truly feel and not be looked at as being “weak.” I think society has done us an injustice as far as coming to terms with our mental state. Therapy is important and I wholeheartedly encourage it for any and every one. The term never let them see you sweat has always held such a negative connotation to me. While I understand what it’s supposed to mean, I can’t help but to feel it’s implying that we should bottle our emotions inside no matter what the cost.
I know what it feels like to have it appear that you have it all together and that everything is okay. I’m here to tell you that it is okay NOT to be okay. Let’s take this scenario: You’re overwhelmed and at wit’s end with all of the things that are going on with you at the moment. You don’t get paid enough, rent is too high, you’re having relationship issues and you’re at a point to where you are not happy with where you’re at in life. 10 years ago this is not where you pictured yourself and you get depressed even more thinking about it. Your younger self would be so disgusted and disappointed at how far you’ve come. You have big goals and ambitions but there always seems to be something that is holding you back, and one of the biggest things is monetary.
You go on each day, week, month and even year on autopilot cruising through. You look at your bank account and realize you have nothing to show for. The financial advice you’ve been hearing all of your life is to at least have 3 months’ worth of emergency fund. You look at your savings account and it reads $2. If that’s not bad enough, your credit score has taken a downturn over the years with the vast amounts of credit cards you’ve taken out just to keep up. You feel as if you need it to survive. Meanwhile you’re working 2-3 other jobs just to be able to swim above water. It’s all about the hustle, you tell yourself. I asked for this. I have to do what I have to do.
Your friends back home see pictures of you at brunch or out and about having fun, so on the outside looking in you’re living the life. When friends or family ask how you’ve been doing, you almost cringe at the question, because you know the answer that will come out of your mouth would be a lie. You begrudgingly give a generic answer with a reply of “I’ve been fine. How have you been?” Why tell them what’s really going on? What would be the point? To vent and reveal what burdens you’ve been taking on? What good would it do to tell them anyway? So they can either criticize or display pity and give you feeble advice? There’s too many questions you have in your head to even begin to tell them the truth. You almost feel like you have to be strong, there’s people counting on you and there’s people that believe in you.
This drives you into a deeper state of isolation. As you lose touch with people, some start to take it personally while others move on with their daily lives, as they should. On your days off the blinds are closed and your eyes are shut. Calls and texts go unanswered as you burst into tears questioning everything including your purpose. You start to lose that spark inside you as time goes on. More questions pop in your head as to what is next for you? Is there hope? As more questions come, the sadder you get. You start to feel as if you’re in a hole that you cannot escape from. It’s almost as if your soul is in a sunken place going deeper and deeper slowly distancing itself from reality.
This my friends, is called depression. It’s something that you can easily fall victim to and not even realize it. You’re aren’t weak nor are you crazy. You are human. No one is exempt from this feeling. While this particular scenario isn’t applicable to everyone, what’s universal is the feeling that you are no longer in control of your emotions and feel as if there is no way out. Coming to terms with this sensitive reality is the first step. The next one is acknowledging that you are strong and that you are loved. Whether it is from your mother, your one true friend or the lady at the grocery store, there is someone in your life that you have touched in ways that you don’t even know. Once you realize how precious your spirit and life is, it brings you closer to what your true purpose is, and that is living!