I’d like to tell you a story about a woman with a debilitating disease. The pain of this disease makes it difficult for her to sleep at night. Once she finally drifts off to sleep she awakens 3 hours later, to begin her day. She drags herself out of bed and even though she is in excruciating pain, she fights back the tears as she slowly makes her way to the shower. It takes her longer than usual to get dressed because she’s lost so much weight that she can barely fit into any of her clothes. It’s also difficult for her to find anything because she hasn’t had the energy to clean in months. Once she finally gets dressed, she cakes on her make-up to hide the puffiness from all of her crying and then she delicately pulls her hair back into a bun. Delicately, because she doesn’t want any more of it to fall out. Just before she leaves the house, she goes back to the bathroom to put on a maxi-pad because, even though it isn’t time for her cycle, lately this disease has been causing her to have irregular vaginal bleeding.
The worst part of this story is that she hasn’t been to see a doctor because she doesn’t want to admit she has a problem. So what disease does she have? Is it Cancer, Diabetes, or HIV/AIDS? Thankfully, she doesn’t have any of these diseases, but if she did she probably wouldn’t be ashamed to get treatment.
The disease she is suffering from is Depression. Unfortunately, since her strength as a Black Woman is one of her last sources of pride, she continues to walk around like nothing is wrong because she’s too embarrassed to tell anyone she’s in pain and she fears that her friends and family will judge her.
It’s not ok to get all dressed up and pretend like nothing is wrong when the truth is you have to give yourself a pep talk just to get out of bed. It’s not ok to walk around angry all the time, yelling at people, avoiding people, afraid of people, being passive aggressive, having anxiety attacks, or feeling inadequate. It’s not ok if a glass of wine is the only way you can fall asleep at night. This is not the life that God intends for you.
There is no shame in taking care of your mental health and it is as important as taking care of your physical health. We go to our friends (who can barely manage their own problems) for advice all the time, why not seek the professional help of a therapist or psychologist (many are covered by your insurance provider) that is trained to help you through the difficult times.
I love you, and I want you to be your best 🙂
THE MORE YOU KNOW:
According to the Enzyme Research Group, depression has a wide range of symptoms, but the most common are insomnia or hypersomnia, physical hyperactivity or inactivity, feelings of worthlessness, loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, lack of energy, irritability, either poor appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain, a diminished ability to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. It may be caused by stress, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, thyroid disorders, sugar, a battle with a serious physical disorder, or chronic fatigue syndrome. Some people also become more depressed in the winter months when there is less exposure to sunlight.