Black Women and Depression
Having Depression Doesn’t Mean You Are Crazy.
“Lisa Brown Alexander, the CEO of Non-Profit HR, the nation’s leading full-service human resource firm, focused on the non-profit sector.” Being a career woman who suffers from depression, she offers insight in her debut book “Strong On The Outside, Dying On The Inside” about her journey of healing through her depression. It’s about professional women and their battle with depression. – TRUDY TOMLINSON
Most people in general don’t know or understand what depression is, how it manifests itself in our lives, or that we need help to conquer it. Depression is a REAL thing…and it affects black people, as well as other races. However, black women refuse to allow themselves to being seen as weak, because they have to be strong in order to be a mother, a career woman, and still take care of home.
So, we have to hold it together…or it will just have to wait until I can deal with it later.
I must admit, I am guilty of this! Pushing through regardless of my condition, knowing there was something wrong, but refusing to acknowledge it, to even myself. The weight of it is so heavy, it gets unbearable at times and I would shut down and shut people out. One thing I always kept going was my career, despite the demands. But ignoring it created a deeper and more persistent problem. It affected my mood tremendously and my sleep habits were completely screwed up.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”
Yes, It’s Generational…
Tomlinson, writes that Alexander believes, “This is not just a one-generation thing. For multiple generations women of color have conditioned ourselves to believe we can handle anything and everything that’s been tossed our way.” I believe this to be very true. We repeat what we see growing up. My mother is strong black woman, who I have never seen give up or complain about how she felt; she just did what she had to do, worked. No matter the situation, she went back to work. So, that’s what I do, too.
Being a counselor, I address depression often with my patients. Never thought too much about my own denial, until after I read the article about Lisa Brown Alexander and her struggle of 5 years with depression.
We have to be careful when depression strikes, because it can easily spiral out of control. I never allowed to affect my professional life, as far as getting the work done, but it affected the way I interacted with my son, taking care of my home, and my social life. Well, so I thought…it was actually affecting every aspect of my life, just in different ways.
Pay attention, ladies!
Pay attention to the signs and symptoms of depression. Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that something is wrong, to turn to help, and to let your loved ones know you are struggling.
It does not make you weak or crazy, by admitting there is something wrong. It makes you strong and aware of what is going on with your mind. Shoving it deep down is not going to solve the problem. Burying yourself in your job won’t do it for you either. It takes courage to ask for help and to heal through the depression. Own your feelings and heal them and then pay it forward.
“Strong on the Outside, Dying on the Inside” is a book that can help professional women and black women in particularly understand that depression is nothing to be ashamed of and that with help they can heal. To purchase your copy, visit Amazon.com.
Ashley M Dais