I can imagine if my heart is aching how much heartache some of the young women and young black boys are feeling out there, and I don’t want them to go through that same type of depression of not having someone present in their life to help them guide them and protect them, especially black male figures.
There were 2 people back to back in my friend circle that had committed suicide within a couple years of each other. I was really young, and it really opened my eyes to what it means especially for the aftermath of your friends and family having to deal with something like that.
He [my father] said picture the world, then picture you holding the world in your hands, and then pointing to your situation within the earth and it’s literally “this” big. And allowing myself to see that picture whenever I’m going through anything really grounded me and that’ show I was able to overcome anxiety.
One of my cousins, someone who I grew up with, we were like best friends, got diagnosed with schizophrenia a couple of years ago. Us as a family we’ve educated ourselves on how to be encouraging for him and be there for him in any way that he needs it.
I was always afraid. Why am I going to tell people i was suicidal? Why am I going to tell people how much pain I went through? That’s weakness, I’m a strong independent woman, I’m not going to show people that.
But that moment I opened the door and started talking about it to people, I’ve already helped so many people. Just sharing my story and letting them know that you can overcome it and that IT’s OK to be depressed, that IT’s OK to be sad, that IT’s OK, you just have to seek help.
This is the third year, and I think this is the first year that I’ve been able to feel like I should address it. The first 2 years I hid and I was in pain and it didn’t do well for my life. My story can’t end with my brother committing suicide and then I lost my mind, so I just make sure that I kept my chin up, and that I don’t give up.
Often times people who give so much to others, find themselves hoping/needing someone to pour into them.. We are the ones who people look for guidance, encouragement, and that positive energy… However when our cup runs low.. we need someone to pour into us!! No longer silent to me means that I’m not afraid to say HELPME, ENCOURAGEME, MOTIVATEME, POURINTOME… It’s not easy being “that” person who everybody expects not to have a bad day…
I share my story in hopes that it will encourage others around the world to band together to support, uplift, and encourage others to no longer stay silent about their struggles with depression. My story is real and so is depression. Depression has no preference and it effect others from all walks of life— it seeps into the minds of the young and even our elders. Depression has a tendency to hurt the ones we love most— and in my case, I watched as it took ahold of someone that I love deeply and that’s my mother. I hope by no longer staying silent and getting others to start the conversation about mental health and the effects of depression that it will save a significant amount of lives.
My story has a few factors, as with most people who suffer from any type of depression. For me I feel like it began as a kid, growing up in Downtown Newport News. My father has never been a part of my life, at least that I can remember. Fortunately I had a step-father who was there for me, but I feel like we never established that undeniable father-son bond, something I can only imagine unless I have a son of my own. To this day, I feel like I have issues establishing and navigating through friendships with other males because it was really something I was never able to naturally do. In my household we didn’t interact much as a family either. Everybody kind’ve just did their own thing, which as a teenager you would love, but as a kid it managed to plant seeds of loneliness that never seemed to completely go away.
I was also somewhat of a misfit. My Mom pretty much kept a leash on me until high school because she didn’t want me to be influenced by the other kids in my neighborhood. I love her for it, but it still made me feel conflicted at the time. She made sure I focused on my studies and eventually I got into a program for gifted students in elementary school. For years I would go to class with mostly white and Asian kids, and then go home back to the hood. I made friends in both environments, but never truly felt like I belonged in either.
This made it hard for me to really have confidence or feel good about myself as a person, because I could never be completely comfortable with who I was wherever I went. I always felt out of place. Once I got to high school, I managed to become popular somehow (I even won the stupid superlative my senior year lol) and I think it basically gave me a false sense of confidence. I also started getting into music at the time, so it was like for the first time I felt like people were really admiring me. Problem was I still didn’t admire myself enough.
As we all know, high school popularity doesnt last forever and can only do so much. Same goes for college, or social networks. As I got older and introduced to different communities where I wasnt as popular anymore, especially as an artist, it would make me feel less valuable as a person. It took me a long time and deep reflection to realize I had been basing my self-esteem on my perception of how other people saw me, most likely a result of years of worrying whether or not I was fitting in or doing the right things socially as a kid. Once I was able to accept this realization I was finally able to just let it go; to learn to enjoy and appreciate myself and my life, no matter what other people think or how “successful” I am so far. No longer silent to me is all about vocalizing that acceptance and freedom, overcoming the battles within to give others the same opportunity for peace.