Imagine the scenario, a room full of people who look just like you and me… A speaker stands in front of us, the eagerly awaiting crowd and to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it” sings…
“If you suffer from depression, clap your hands… “
One person does a kind of half clap and quickly stops, when it becomes apparent that nobody else is going to take part in this delightful game and everyone else, including you, does nothing…
Nobody wants to clap, nobody wants to admit that sometimes life is A LOT
…Especially if you’re black! That’s right, it is highly likely, that the half clap in our imaginary scene, came from a white person, because depression is still very much a taboo subject, in most black households.
“Overly emotional” things like depression aren’t a BLACK thing …In fact, the idea of it is memeable, please see exhibit A below (from many available on the web);
…Add being female to the equation and it’s even more unthinkable! Who, us? No way! The world believes we are strong, independent, fierce, loud… angry? …We are NOT depressed!
Well actually some of us are… Who’d have thunk it? …We are human.
It’s a sad but true fact, that most of us suffer alone… We don’t tell friends or family what’s really going on under the layers of “I’m fine” …We rarely seek help, because we’ve got it all under control …On the surface.
To seek help, would be to admit something is wrong.
I get up in the morning, put on my war paint (eyebrow pencil, mascara & lip gloss), go out in to the world and SLAY! I make jokes, chill with friends, hold down a decent job, I’m a leader …I’m a mummy, I do homework and crafts… I workout, I do evening courses, yeah I got hobbies Bish …I get LIFE done!
All whilst falling a part!
I have what they call “High Functioning Depression” which basically means; In public, I pretend I’m ok, really, really, really well 🙂 …To the outside world, I am the epitome of Black Girl Magic (…kind of …almost lol), …It appears to the average Jo that I’m doing just fine… And sometimes, it really is true! Sometimes I really am killing it and feel like I could take on the entire world and its Mum…
…But other times (lots of times) I’m left feeling completely drained by it all…
I get home and shut down. Not because I’m lazy, but because I’ve used ALL of my energy trying to be normal! Whatever that is.
Once I reach the safety of my room, I will literally step out of my clothes and in to my bed, wake up in the morning step in to new clothes …slay …come home, repeat… Step out, step in, step out, step in…
…But “merrily” skipping over and ignoring both the little piles of dirty laundry and also the pretty big issues, that have led me further and further down the rabbit hole of depression really hasn’t been very helpful at all –
Here’s just a few of the Taboo topics I have (unfortunately) had the pleasure of brushing under the carpet;
- Death of a parent aged 18
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Called off engagement
- Post Natal Depression
- Phantom pregnancy… This one deserves some deets – Def not as exciting as it sounds, everything says you’re pregnant; The pregnancy test, the achey boobs, the morning sickness etc etc but when you go for your first scan, the little sac that your baby should be in is EMPTY… Pretty shit. It’ll get a blog at some point…
The list could go on, but you get the gist and these are topics that you don’t normally bring up over and over again over drinks like
“Oh hey guys remember that time, my entire right fallopian tube burst open? Well I still kinda sorta …Have nightmares about it …And feel a bit like 1/2 a woman… lol! Redbull and coke anyone?”
…It’s just not the done thing.
You get a couple of weeks max, to share what you can bare to (the tip of the iceberg for me)… And then its just a bit …well …over indulgent really, to keep going on about it.
At least that’s how it feels…
Time to get on with Life asap, before you scare everyone away with you random crying and shouty outbursts about how pissed off you are about stuff...
But you see, the problem is I’m not over any of the above and a whole bunch of other crap I’ve not mentioned…
So it all sits inside, with the other smaller, anxiety inducing things piling up on top of each other like an unstable, mental health addition of Jenga…
Sharing the bare bones of any issue (if that) and keeping most of it in my head… While I just get on with it…
…While the bedroom gets messy and the laundry piles up and the takeaways become more frequent …And I just lay there.
But everyone goes through stuff, right? And look at them all, just getting on with life, like proper Adults …
At least that’s what it looks like…
But how many of them, have been hiding in plain sight just like me? Pretending to be fine out of fear of being a nuisance, looking weak or being made to feel embarrassed etc etc…
How many people in the room really, really want to clap along to the song from our imaginary scene?
…Something has to change. And I’m starting with me!
My journey has only just begun and there are still some things I feel awks about, BUT the little steps forward I have taken, have shown me that everything is going to be ok…
Family have rallied round and listened without judgment. Friends have been …well FRIENDS basically! Both, have been what I’ve not allowed them to be before in regards to this subject, my support network!
I made the decision for them, that they wouldn’t be able to help me, without giving them the chance to come through for me… but once I opened the door, they quite literally came rolling in, one after the other! And when needed, they’ve pushed me in the right direction for professional help! (Sometimes you’re gonna need a bit more than a cup of tea and a chin wag to get through it, for real lol!)
My cup of “over thinking” is full and spilling over on to the pages of this blog and flowing freely from my mouth and in to my conversations …and you know what? It feels good!
When writing my first post, I did receive some friendly old school advice regarding myself and the D word and that was …DO NOT MENTION IT! Think of future employees, think of what people might say and… what about a potential boyfriend / husband what might he think about the antidepressants?
…My response? …My first blog post basically lol!
“A problem shared is a problem halved”
DEPRESSION, DEPRESSION, DEPRESSION!
I need to talk about it!
WE need to talk about it!
I find it much easier to write it out loud, than say it out loud …but it’s getting easier and I’m actually excited about going to my first counselling session… Bring it!
The journey up continues!
Thanks for joining me!
Love Bald Font xx