The ugly truth that people fail to realize or understand about depression, is that it doesn’t discriminate. Depression doesn’t care if you’re a man or a woman. It doesn’t care about your race or your age. It doesn’t care about where you live or how much money you make. And it surely doesn’t go away just because you want it too.
I will never forget my 30th birthday. Not only was I was excited about leaving behind the mistakes I’d made in my 20’s, but I was preparing to move to a completely new city to pursue my passion, writing. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my birthday was going to be full of surprises. However, I had no idea that being diagnosed with clinical depression would be one of them.
When I was first informed of my fragile state of mind, I felt overwhelmed to say the least. After the shock wore off, I had to be honest with myself. All the signs were there, I had just become accustomed to masking them. I didn’t have a desire to do much during the week, but no one really knew that since I did most of my socializing during the weekend. I wasn’t working at the time and when I wasn’t running errands for my family, I would lie around the house, completely checked out. Eating and sleeping had become my daily routine. Even my writing had taken a back seat. I could not move away from the only home that I had known in such a dark state, because truth be told, I may not have survived the trials I would have to face. Although I was planning this big move, I still didn’t have any job leads and I had only secured a place to stay for a few months. I probably would not have withstood much more failure at that point in my life.
Having earned a degree in Psychology, I understood the importance of mental health and agreed to immediately begin counseling. Even though seeking counseling outside of the church is frowned upon and misunderstood in the black community, I knew what I needed to do to save my life and to make myself better. I knew that not all of the people who loved me would understand how or why I was depressed, and why I couldn’t simply pray myself better. However, my answer to their questions was simple. I explained that prayer works but so does counseling and that God gave us healers for a reason.
Getting help from a professional gave me the tools to fight depression, as well as recognize certain triggers and early warning signs. It made me stronger and more self aware. I understood that having a daily routine, such as exercising, would not only help me physically but could clear my mind. Going for a walk every day put me back in touch with my creativity, which I was certainly going to need when I made the big move to Atlanta.
Overcoming depression taught me the importance of not hiding the chaos that we often experience in life. What people fail to realize or understand about depression is that it doesn’t discriminate. It helped me to be an even more authentic and I felt no shame for being a black woman who needed help and received it. Counseling saved my life and it just might save yours or even the life of someone you love, which is why I’m producing my first short film, “Angela’s Awakening,” surrounding the topic of mental health. I’m asking you to partner with me to make this dream a reality. No amount is too small and donations start at $5. Find out more about my project and donate today by simply clicking this link: Angela’s Awakening. Help me change the world one story at a time.