Guest Blog by Tiffany Shivers.
I typed a text to my mom saying, “I don’t think I want to live anymore” then proceeded to turn off my phone. I was sitting in my bed surrounded in a puddle of tears ready to give up on life. With thoughts of suicide swimming through my head, it was at that moment, I had to admit I had a problem. I had two options; get the help I needed or just end it all.
Considering I am typing this post right now, I am sure you can tell what I decided to do. Fast forward to two months later, I am telling a girlfriend about my journey. I mention my suicidal thoughts, my depressive episodes, and the mental pain I experience on a daily basis.
When I look up from my long rant, her face looked something like this…
She was simply speechless. She could not understand why a woman with such a promising future could be depressed or worse, feel like committing suicide. The conversation came to an abrupt end and a small portion of me felt embarrassed. Funny enough, working on myself was not the hardest part of my journey with depression. It was explaining to the people I love what I was experiencing.
This would not be the first time. As, I spread my story through blogging, I found close family and friends who just did not understand. Depression and suicide are difficult topics to talk about in our community. We tend to cower behind stereotypical phrases like “Strong Black Woman”. As scary as it is, it is crucial that we start to be more open and honest about our struggles. Here’s why:
Liberation: You will never feel a greater feeling than being honest with yourself. I hate the feeling of being depressed, but I love seeing how far I have come. When I look back at that sad, hopeless young woman I was then versus the strong woman I am today, I feel empowered. I am no longer a sufferer. I am a conqueror.
Support: I would spend days in my bed crying and believing that no one could possibly understand the pain I was feeling. The moment I started blogging about my depression on blaqueandblue.com I began to get texts and comments from friends who felt the same way. They were depressed about their careers, family illnesses, and life in general. My testimony was an outlet and provided support for others to speak openly about their struggles.
Dispel Myths: I am a strong black woman. I have two degrees; a loving family and respect in my community; yet I still suffer from depression. It comes in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. Let men, women, and children in our community know they are not alone.
As women of color, we have the ability to impact generations, but it all starts with YOU! Let’s show our future generations that depression is not a weakness, but a sign of tough will and persistence. Speak up and be heard! Let your journey be an inspiration to others.
Tiffany is a mental health advocate for women of color. She travels the country empowering women of color to speak honestly and openly about mental health.. She loves to travel and is an avid supporter of all things #BlackGirlMagic. Connect with her at blaqueandblue.com