ME TOO: 9 Queens Share Their Experience With Mental Health

As black women we suffer more than a lot of our counterparts, in part, because we were raised thinking one of a few things, therapy is for white people, give it to god, toughen up, etc, and the list goes on! Mental health is just as real as physical health, and it deserves equally if not more care than your physical being. As black women, it is important for us to have support from women that look like us and understand what we encounter. You don't have to suffer in silence because you are not the only one. Me TOO:

Dear Sis,
I want you to know that you are NOT alone even if you feel alone! Have you spoken to someone lately? If not, DO IT! Sometimes we need to speak to someone who can help validate our feelings and get us through our hard times. We should never feel like it’s taboo for us to seek any type of help from a professional. If you wish to not speak to a counselor, find something that makes you HAPPY. When I am feeling down or want to just give up COMPLETELY, I find my happy place. My happy place is imagining myself on an island listening to the sounds of the ocean splashing against the sands. That sounds is the best way to ease my pain and makes me happy. Trust me, there are other people out there who may be experiencing whatever you are. Find like minded people and form a connection and help each other! You got this! Do not give up! Fight pass your feelings.
I love you sis! - Shannon Lide
Mental health illness rates are much higher in women than they are in men.
My experience with mental health especially as a black woman is very eye opening. People tend to think because you battle mental health issues you’re weak and that’s not correct, sometimes that’s where you’ll find some of the STRONGEST black women there are! Just because we don’t always speak about our problems that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When I feel my anxiety coming on I try to react to it immediately to levitate the intensity of it. I would do things such as art therapy, listen to music, even talking about your problems will make you feel much better. Your mental health issues is not what makes you! You have to keep the press on and keep persevering because you never know how many lives you could possibly change including your own. - Lavon Green

Hey my beautiful sistahs of soul. My name is SHE, and for last year of my life I have been battling with depression, anxiety, and a list of other mental health issues. I went through a break up with my 4-year boyfriend that almost pushed me over the edge. LITERALLY. I kept asking myself what reasons I had to be here. I wasn’t that close to my family and was too embarrassed to talk to my friends about what I was dealing with. I didn’t want to hear, “girl fuck him”. It was deeper than that. All the things I had been hiding and pushing to the back of my closet all spilled out at one time, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. In my opinion, I had just lost my biggest crutch so how was I supposed to go on? Well I started self-cleansing, self-healing, and some serious soul searching. I realized that there was no greater love than self-love and no greater knowledge than knowledge of self. Also, realizing that it didn’t make me crazy to go through these things helped to embrace what I was going through, and I am now able to heal from the things I faced in my past properly. I eventually started sheheal.org that talks about all the things that goes on in female’s heads that we might too embarrassed to admit to. From relationships, mental health, self-love, self-care, and financial literacy, I talk about it everything that I was once too embarrassed to utter out loud. A little piece of advice that I will leave you with is that its is important to be transparent with yourself and the ones you love. If it wasn’t for honesty with myself and my close friends, I might not be here to tell my story.Remember Heal Thy Self for a Healthy Self. One love. - Jailyn Powell

I left a decent paying government job even though I was halfway to retiring at the age of 37. Why? Well amongst a list of many other things, 60K a year wasn’t worth my sanity. Working in a white male dominated career field I felt pressured to work twice as hard to avoid stereotypes. I always felt like I was being judged or not meeting some invisible standard. Although I was excelling beyond my peers I was unhappy and lacked all motivation. Manic Monday was an everyday thing for me.Work. Wine. Sleep. Repeat!I dreaded work or anything that required me to get out of bed. The depression was real. I couldn’t pinpoint the issue but I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t drink it away nor pray it away. Prayer is powerful but we all know the verse Faith without work is dead. Depression keeps you from putting in that work. It’s a mental condition with physical side affects. Many of us suffer but we are unaware of the symptoms or just try to push through it out of fear of being judged or labeled as crazy.Let nothing keep you from healing. Acknowledge it and seek help. You’re not alone. - Melinda Lumpkin

Transparency moment! 🚨 I hit my rock bottom in 2015. There, I said it. I was ashamed to seek help so in return I suffered for months in silence. Crying myself to sleep every night. Waking up every morning puffy red eyes. Wearing long sleeves in the summertime to hide my scars. Always replying “I’m okay” whenever someone asked. THIS IS REAL LIFE & sadly it happens so often to the people around us. Due to the fact that black women are forced to masked our feelings mental health gets put on the back burner. Don’t be silent! Speak out & speak up! There are people out there that do care and that are willing to help! You owe it to yourself 🌻 - Michelle Wynn

Mental health, even in this day and age, has so many stigmas behind it, especially when it comes to black woman. As a professional in the field, I’ve seen the beauty and growth that comes within being able to break free of all boundaries and struggles from past traumas and hurts. I am an advocate for people taking care of themselves in all realms; spiritually, mentally, and physically. Our behaviors  are a reflections of our thoughts. Positive mindsets stem from being able to identify and acknowledge emotions and negative cognitive distortions. It is essential that black Woman form together as a unit, to  encourage and promote others to get the help that’s needed. Mental health is vital to healthy living, in order to thrive, you have to take the first steps towards positive healing. - Faith Saxton

I will say that the thing that helped me the most to see the light in times of darkness in my life was to look within while also being able to look in the mirror and genuinely love the person staring back at me. I had to unlearn a lot of what I thought happiness was and truly embrace Veronica. My greatest testament to overcoming feelings of hopelessness was the moment I decided to stop doing things my way and allow God to lead me. I decided to retreat from social media while getting my mind right because I didn’t need any outside influences altering my reality. You see, when you’re feeling lost in this big world it can be easy to take a detour based on what you see and hear, which is why I felt that isolation was truly Godly for me. Spending time with God, giving thanks to Jesus and affirming who I truly am helped me to grow stronger to my core. These are things I still do daily. This sums it up perfectly: I remember I used to do things to be a part of something...to feel like I belonged, and now I do what encourages me to be set apart for my greater good. - Veronica Shaw

Being a first time Mom and you very well may experience PP depression. You could have a plan of how you think things will turn out, but then something goes wrong. Maybe you don't have support from the father, maybe your family has abandoned you, maybe you lost your job? And that's when you break down, and feel like you are stuck in this dark hole, and you don't have direction or a way to get out of it.  But trust me when I tell you, you CAN and you WILL. It all boils down to taking life one day at a time. You can't stress over what or who you can't control. Change your perspective, change your attitude, get rid of anything holding you down, and see the beauty in life, as a mother, and definitely in your child(ren). You'll start to see light at the end of your dark hole. - Sacoya Champion

I personally deal with anxiety, a lot more than id like to admit. I constantly remind myself, you can be “STRONG” and “INDEPENDENT” and still need support and cry every now and again too. I cry more than a little and I love blaming it on being a sensitive ass Pisces and telling myself I need to grow the fuck up because grown ups don't cry. But truth is, it’s because I bottle a lot inside ! I was raised being told to leave it in God’s hands when in reality I needed to let it out and leave it all out on the table. The thought of this still gives me anxiety. There is levels to transparency and in this newfound digital age we live in, its so hard to not apply a filter. That alone can cause major mental health issues that many don't even realized.

The navy made me anxious, I had and still have really bad insomnia (forget #TeamNoSleep#TeamNoSleep) and I dealt with depression and was in denial. When I went to talk to the therapist it was because I didn't want to be at work when the truth is, I really needed to be there. She told me I had anxiety, which I would claim to get out of getting in trouble at work but like the say, your words are powerful. I thought when I separated from the military it would get rid of all my issues, but truth is it added to.

I moved hundreds of miles away from home, alone to seek peace because I hate being alone! That in itself is a problem I never wanted to deal with. Still to this day people ask me, how did you do that. Did you and your boyfriend break up. No we didn't but I needed to get to the bottom of me. Attack your issues first hand! Today I still suffer. More than a little. More than I'd like to share. But I'm managing. I go to the movies once or twice a week. I take baths and sit in silence. I'm reading more, meditating more and communicating what I feel more. It's a journey, but its one worth taking. Even though I'm in a new town, seeking self I still realize that even in solitude you need others. I wasn't put on earth by myself. There are trillions of human beings on the earth and that fact alone should tell you that you can't do it all by yourself. I'm still working on that. - Edishia Roundtree

Queen, always remember: No matter what you endure you are not in the fight alone.

Try the following tips to assist you in managing your mental health:

  • Seek help

  • Seek guidance from those that have been there like the ladies above

  • Reach out to your loved ones, family and/or friends

  • Utilize Therapy For Black Girls because therapy is not taboo. That's what they are here for

  • Meditate (for beginners try guided meditation utilizing apps such as Calm or Headspace)

  • Like Shannon, find your happy place. Wherever that may be, and go there

  • If you are spiritual as Veronica shares, pray and trust in God's will.

  • As Lavon shares, get creative, paint, listen to music, or simply talk about your feelings.

  • Initiate some serious self-care like SHE

  • Be honest if you need to, cry if you have to and as Michelle suggests, seek help. Speak Up & Speak Out. You are not suffering alone.

  • As Faith suggests, find your tribe and support one another.

  • As hard as it may be at times, stay Positive. You will get through.

 

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