Black Girls Get Depressed Too
I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to publicly talk about what it’s like being a woman of color who deals with depression. However, as my college experience comes to a close, and graduation gets closer, I have come to realize that I’m not alone. Contrary to popular belief, black girls (of all backgrounds) deal with depression just like other races. I’ve decided to share my own walk with depression and how I’m currently working to overcome it because I feel that there is someone out there who needs t hear this! And I hope my story helps them realize that their not alone either. Before we start, I want to say that everybody’s journey is different from the next, I’m only speaking on my own path, and what helped me overcome one of the hardest times in my life.
While in high-school, I was an overall happy person. Even though I played multiple sports on the varsity level and took A.P. classes, I still managed to keep my stress levels low. Looking back, I think my biggest problem in High school might have been when my boyfriend of two years and I broke up. Yes, I was a little sad, but it was nothing hanging with my friends could not fix. And if I’m being honest, when I was younger, most of my emotional problems could be fixed just by simply talking to my friends or going on a run. I had the misconception that college would be the same.
The last few weeks of my high-school career felt like every person in my life wanted to give me some last minute college advice. My teachers were telling me things like; be sure to always go to class, studying is a major key, and late work will not be tolerated in college. My parents were trying to teach me the importance of securing a job as soon as possible because as they put it “2000 students will be going for 5 campus jobs, so get in quick!” Even my older brother, who was already in college, had some advice for me and taught me the proper etiquette for attending my first college party. Those last few weeks of high-school went by quicker than I expected. Soon I was walking across the stage getting my diploma, summer break came to an end, and I was driving across the country to Rhode Island for my first year of undergrade.
I wish someone had taken the time to speak with me about the importance of mental health before my college experience had started. I strongly believe that if someone had, it would have helped me from dealing with the mental health issues I faced at such a young age. Unfortunately, out of all the advice I received about college, no one told me the importance of taking care of my psyche. As I mentioned before, while in high-school, I did a pretty good job of balancing my responsibilities. My first year of college however, I quickly realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. As my parents instructed, I got a campus job right away. I also made the women’s Rugby team and joined a few other organizations as well. On top of that, I entered a new relationship and was in the process of joining a sorority (my university allows freshman to pledge second semester). My first year of college I had a huge problem with saying the word “no”. I felt that because I was able to balance everything in high-school, I should be able to do the same in college. I did not want to ask for help and I felt that if I dropped something from my schedule I’d be letting my friends, teammates, or boyfriend down. I was putting everyone before myself and my body was doing its best to keep up. By my sophomore year of college I was dealing with anxiety and having panic attacks often. I wasn’t happy at all and nothing I did seemed to help that problem. I recall crying in my dorm one night because I felt that I was suffocating. In addition to dealing with anxiety and depression, I also started to have intense abdominal pains and I couldn’t keep any food down. Eventually, I became so sick that my mom made me fly home and I was admitted into the hospital. It was there that I learned I was living with severe case of cronhs disease.
My doctor couldn’t believe I waited so long to come in. I was in excruciating pain, lost an extreme amount of weight, and was very malnourished. Because I was so focused on pleasing everyone around me, I ignored what my body was saying to me. My recovery from this was not an overnight event and I spent close to 6 months in the hospital. I was I could tell you all that my depression got better right away but it didn’t. I was dealing with depression from my illness, other life issues, and now I felt that I was behind in life (because I missed so much school).
When I was finally discharged from the hospital, I was in a darker place than when I went in. I found myself questioning why I was ever born and if I wanted to continue living. I struggled with getting out of bed in the morning and I swear it feels as if I slept for an entire year. The turning point for me was a conservation I had with my mother. One day she came to my room crying and asked me to fight for myself because she could not image her life without me in it. My mom said that whatever I felt I needed to pull myself out of the darkness she would help me get. I started going to therapy twice a week. During one of my sessions, my therapist mentioned antidepressants and asked me would I be willing to go on them. I was nervous because all my life I’ve heard “black people don’t get depressed”. And yet, here I was, a woman of color who was very (very very) depressed). I shared the suggestion with my mother who said “never be ashamed of the steps you take to heal yourself.”
It’s been sometime since that moment and I can honestly say I’m in a much better place. I learned that I needed to put myself and my mental health before anything else. I ended the relationship I was in because I realized it’s toxicity was only adding to my depression. I also left the rugby team and denounced my greek letters. I did everything I needed to in order to help myself get to a better place. And if anyone is wondering, yes, I still am on antidepressants. One day I hope to be off fully, but for now, I feel that they still serve a purpose in my life. Even though I’m in a better place overall, I do still have bad days or off moments. Thankfully now, I know the warning signs to pay attention to and I understand the importance of having sound mental health.
Twila-Amoure McDaniel48 Posts
Twila-Amoure McDaniel is a college student who is majoring in both communications and film studies. When she isn't in class she is more than likely somewhere making videos for her YouTube channel. Her passions include writing, art, and film-making and she currently has plans on going into the film industry. Twila-Amoure does have crohn's disease, however she is very determined not to allow that to stop her from achieving all of her goals in life. Be sure to follow her on all on her social media platforms @TwilaAmoure and feel free to browse through Campus Lately for more of her work.